Charlotte Cops to Release Videos of Keith Scott's Shooting Death

A protester speaks through a megaphone during another night of protests over the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mike Blake/Reuters

The Charlotte police will release body camera and dashboard videos showing the fatal shooting of a black man that triggered rioting in the city, the police chief said on Saturday, following calls from protesters and civil rights leaders to make the footage public.

The shooting on Tuesday of Keith Scott, a 43-year-old father of seven, was the latest in a series of deadly police encounters across the country in recent years that has raised questions about the use of force by U.S. law enforcement against African-Americans and other minorities.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney told a news conference that the evidence shows Scott was in possession a handgun and marijuana during the confrontation with police.

"They look in the car and they see the marijuana, they don't act. They see the gun and they think they need to," Putney said of the officers at the scene, who had gone to the Charlotte neighborhood to serve a warrant on a different person.

Police have continually said that Scott was armed at the time of the encounter, a contention that his family has disputed and which gave rise to the protests and rioting in Charlotte.

A video taken by Scott's wife and released to the public on Friday did not provide an answer on whether Scott had a gun.

Putney on Saturday said all evidence gathered by police made clear what happened, but the videos were insufficient to do so independently.

"Yes, based on the totality of what we see, he absolutely was in possession of a handgun," Putney said.

He described the police videos as supporting other evidence, rather than being standalone proof. "The footage itself will not create in anyone's mind absolute certainty as to what this case represents and what the outcome should be," Putney said.

Earlier in the week, Putney said that police were not ready to release the video because doing so could compromise the investigation into the shooting. On Saturday, he said that after speaking with state investigators he concluded the video could now be released without "adversely impacting" the investigation.

"What we are releasing are the objective facts," Putney said.

Protesters have called for officers involved in the shooting to face criminal charges, but Putney said, "Officers are absolutely not being charged by me at this point.

"But again, there's another investigation ongoing," he added.

Putney said police would not be releasing all the video footage they have of the incident, instead making public only the "pertinent" parts.

Scott, who was sitting in a parked car when confronted by police, was shot by Officer Brentley Vinson, who has been placed on paid administrative leave. Vinson is also black. Putney said he knew of only one officer firing.

Demonstrators on Saturday mounted a fifth day of protests in Charlotte. They called for the end of emergency measures imposed on the city this week, the removal of National Guard troops and for officers involved in the incident to be prosecuted.