After a week of violent — and in one case deadly — riots in the streets of Charlotte, N.C., police finally capitulated to demands that departmental videos of the events leading up to the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott be released.
There are two police videos in all, one recorded by the dashcam of a police cruiser, the other a body cam. The Charlotte Observer notes correctly that neither video confirms or refutes that Scott was armed.
In the dashcam video, which follows, you can make out the figure of Scott at the extreme left of the visual frame exiting his car and backing slowly away before shots audibly ring out. You can detect the sounds of the police shouting, but you can’t make out their words, which are obscured by the voice of the police dispatcher coming over the car’s radio.
The body cam video is even less conclusive. The wearer appears to be running during the first half minute or so of the footage. When the camera finally focuses, we see Scott’s outstretched body on the ground.
So did Scott have a gun, as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney has stated? We know from the video recorded by Scott’s wife that she told police that he did not. We also know from independent reports that a gun was said to be recovered at the scene and that Scott, contrary to the earliest information disseminated, had a criminal record that included gun-related charges.
Whether the newly released police-provided footage is helpful or not, it is likely to be the last such footage ever shared with the public in North Carolina. Starting Oct. 1, a law signed two months ago by Gov. Pat McCrory, will block the public from seeing dashboard and body camera videos.