The checkered past of Keith Lamont Scott, an African-American man killed by a Charlotte, N.C., police officer last week, should have no bearing on the investigation into the shooting, the head of the Charlotte NAACP said Wednesday.
“I’m not interested in Mr. Scott’s background,” Corine Mack told USA TODAY. “African-American men who are shot are immediately demonized. I say stop demonizing a man who can’t defend himself. On the day in question he was just sitting in his car.”
Mack also expressed concern that only about half of the city’s force of more than 1,500 officers has gone through special training required under the civil liberties ordinance adopted last year.
“It has language about de-escalation, about how to approach an African American,” she said. “We’ve got to get these officers properly trained.”
Mack also called for more transparency, asking that all recordings from the shooting be released, not just the few minutes police made public Saturday.
Scott, 43, was shot Sept. 20 while waiting for his child’s school bus. Neighbors say he routinely sat in his vehicle reading while waiting for his son. Police say he was armed and, when ordered out of his truck, refused numerous commands to drop his weapon.
CMPD released a two minute and 10 second clip of dash cam video along with a 1 minute, 8 second shaky body cam video. Neither video clearly shows what Scott had in his hands at the time of the shooting. The city on Wednesday formally rejected media requests to release additional parts of the video.
Judy Emken, an attorney for the police department, said the body camera clip was part of a 16 minute video, but that the last 14 minutes was not released because of the graphic nature and “a dying man’s last breaths.” The dash cam video is almost two hours long but shows only officers milling around the crime scene, she said.
The shooting set off a series of sometimes violent protests in the city of more than 800,000, about a third of whom are black. A funeral service for Justin Carr, fatally shot during the protests, was held Wednesday. A civilian is charged with murder in Carr’s death.
Source: USA Today | John Bacon