Washington, Sep 25 (IANS) The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department announced on Saturday that it will release several videos of the shooting by officers of an African American man, an incident that has sparked major protests in the city.
At a press conference, Charlotte police chief Kerr Putney said that Keith Lamont Scott, 43, was definitely holding a gun when he was shot by a black police officer last Tuesday, although the videos to be released — police dashcam and body-camera videos from officers at the scene — do not show the gun actually in his hand.
“Our practice and our protocol is to release as soon as we can, to inform,” EFE news quoted Putney as saying, adding that the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation had assured him that releasing the videos would not adversely impact its investigation into the matter.
The release of the videos comes a day after Scott’s widow released a cellphone video she recorded during the incident and on which she can be heard telling officers — prior to him being shot — that her husband did not have a gun, had just taken his medication and was not a danger to them. Officers can be heard on that video shouting for Scott to “drop the gun”.
Putney said that his decision to release the police videos did not come in response to the release of the video made by Scott’s widow, EFE news reported.
The chief said that his agents had accosted Scott in a parking lot, finding marijuana and a weapon in his vehicle.
Shortly after shooting Scott on Tuesday, police said that he had refused to drop the gun he was holding and thus posed a deadly “threat” to the officers, but the victim’s family members have said that he did not have a gun.
Charlotte police released a photo of a pistol they said Scott had when he was shot, along with photos of an ankle holster they said they had removed from Scott’s leg and what they said was a marijuana joint.
The plainclothes officer who shot Scott, Brentley Vinson, was not wearing a body-camera at the time of the incident, but other officers on the scene were.
Since early Saturday morning, demonstrators have gathered peacefully in downtown Charlotte without police making any arrests, without any incidents or causing any damage to public property, however protests over the past four days have, at times, turned violent.
The protesters and black community leaders have been demanding the release of police videos.