After rioters raged for a second night in Charlotte over the police shooting of a black man, the city’s police chief told reporters Thursday he will show video of Keith Lamont Scott’s final moments to the man’s family, but he has no intention of releasing it “to the masses.”
“I’m telling you right now, if you think I say we should display a victim’s worst day for consumption, that is not the transparency I’m speaking of,” Chief Kerr Putney said.
Putney told reporters during a news conference he won’t release police video amid an active investigation.
“If the police chief wants to release that video today, under the current law, he absolutely can,” Jonathan Jones, director of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition, told the Charlotte Observer. “I think the Charlotte police department would be well advised … to release that video.”
A new North Carolina law takes effect Oct. 1 that requires a judge to approve releasing police video.
Putney also said the video shows Scott with a gun but does not definitively show him pointing it at anyone.
“The video does not give me absolute, definitive visual evidence that would confirm that a person is pointing a gun,” Putney said.
Putney told reporters he wants to be “very intentional in protecting the integrity of the investigation” and that he would only release the video “if there’s a compelling reason.”
Putney said it was “a matter of seconds” between the time Scott was ordered to drop the gun and when he was shot.
An official who watched the footage told CNN that Scott made an “obvious threat” toward officers before he was shot. Another person claimed Scott also had an ankle holster.
In North Carolina, the open-carry of a handgun is legal. Concealed carry is also legal, if you have a permit.
Scott had a lengthy criminal record, including convictions in Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina. Texas records showed he was convicted of evading arrest with a vehicle in 2005, and several months later, of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
A photo taken by a witness and obtained by NBC affiliate WCNC appears to show a gun on the ground near Scott’s body moments after the shooting.
Family members said he had been sitting in his car reading a book. Police said they recovered a weapon but no book.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is now investigating and will determine whether charges should be filed against the officer involved.
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Meanwhile, disturbing videos of the Charlotte riots are being shared on social media and broadcast on national television.
In one video, a white man is seen trying to flee a black mob as he is beaten, kicked and dragged in a downtown parking garage.
Warning: The following video contains graphic content:
“It’s ok to peaceful protest but when you start looting, beating up innocent people because of race, and tearing up the city you live in NOW that’s a real issue!” wrote Lennard Bennett, the man who originally shared the video on Facebook.
At least four journalists were also among those injured by rioters, reported the Charlotte Observer.
A cameraman and reporter for WCNC-TV were attacked and taken to the hospital. A still photographer was knocked unconscious, and his companion was pushed over by rioters as she tried to help him just inches from a bonfire burning in the street. Police and bystanders rushed to their aid.
And a CNN correspondent was slammed to the ground in the midst of the chaos.
Ed Lavandera was speaking to anchor Anderson Cooper during a live broadcast when a man slammed him to the pavement.
“Ed, are you OK?’ Anderson asked.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re fine, Anderson, we’re fine,” Lavandera told Cooper. “It’s just someone taking out their frustrations on me.”
Many businesses, including the NASCAR Hall of Fame, were hit by vandals and looters who smashed windows and stole merchandise. Adjacent restaurants and hotels were also damaged, with doors and windows broken out. Vandals also hit the headquarters of the region’s United Way, across from the Hall of Fame. Duke Energy and Bank of America were among the companies who closed their offices and told employees to stay home on Thursday.
Late Wednesday, Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency for Charlotte and deployed the National Guard and State Highway Patrol troopers to assist local police.