District Attorney: No Charges Against Charlotte Officer Who Shot, Killed Keith Lamont Scott

Keith Lamont Scott, the Black man who was shot and killed by a Charlotte police officer on Sept. 20, 2016. Image courtesy of Facebook.

Keith Lamont Scott, the Black man who was shot and killed by a Charlotte police officer on Sept. 20, 2016. Image courtesy of Facebook.

A North Carolina district attorney announced Wednesday that no criminal charges would be filed against a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer who shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott during a confrontation with authorities.

District Attorney Andrew Murray asserted that Officer Brentley Vinson’s use of deadly force was totally justified, as Scottt exited his vehicle that day armed with a gun and continually refused officers’ commands to drop his weapon. The Charlotte man’s wife, Rakeyia Scott, captured the fatal incident on camera.

According to The Charlotte Observer, one bullet was found in the chamber of the cocked firearm, the safety was off and Scott’s DNA was found on the grip and slide. Murray also said witness accounts claiming Scott was holding a book, and not a gun, were all untrue.

“A reading book was not found in the front or back seats of Mr. Scott’s SUV,” he said.

Officer Vinson’s gun was later examined and found to have four missing bullets. Four shell casings also were found at the scene and determined to have come from the officer’s gun, the newspaper reported.

Evidence in the high-profile case was run past 15 veteran prosecutors at the D.A.’s office, who unanimously decided there was insufficient evidence to charge Vinson in the deadly shooting, Murray said. The district attorney met with Scott’s family to discuss the decision prior to Wednesday’s announcement.

“As you can imagine, it was a difficult discussion. However, the family was extremely gracious,” he said. “No one, and I mean no one, should ever experience, let alone witness, the violent death of a loved one.”

Angry locals took to the streets of Charlotte in the nights following Scott’s death to protest the shooting of yet another Black man by police. A majority of the public still believed that Scott was unarmed and pushed Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney to release police body-cam footage of the shooting. When he finally did, however, none of the videos clearly showed whether the Charlotte man was armed or not.

Proving Scott was in possession of a gun at the time of the fatal shooting was a key point in the case that investigators made sure to address. Justin Bamberg, an attorney for the Scott family, called the discovery and Wednesday’s announcement nothing short of bittersweet.

“We’ve been saying from the very beginning that we want to know the facts, we want certain questions answered,” Bamberg said. “And we did get some of those answers today. “But we’re going to continue to look into this matter.”

According to NBC News, Murray has since entreated the Charlotte community at large to be understanding of his office’s decision and not to file charges against his office.

“We took a lot of painstaking effort to make certain that there was no personal bias in the review,” the district attorney said. “Public opinion did not factor in our determination. I’d like the community to take a collective pause.”

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