Charlotte officer ‘Acted Lawfully’ in fatal shooting of Keith Scott

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Photo by Rakeyia Scott.

By Richard Fausset and Alan Blinder, nytimes.com

A Charlotte, N.C., police officer will not face charges in the fatal shooting in September of a black resident, Keith Lamont Scott, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

The Sept. 20 shooting of Mr. Scott, who the police said had a handgun when he was killed, set off days of unrest in North Carolina’s largest city and led to immense public pressure on the police to release dashboard and body camera recordings, which did not prove that Mr. Scott had been armed.

Still, the decision not to prosecute the officer, Brentley Vinson, who is black, was not a surprise. In September, the chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Kerr Putney, said that the officer was “absolutely not being charged by me at this point.”

R. Andrew Murray, the district attorney for Mecklenburg County, said on Wednesday that Officer Vinson was justified in using deadly force against Mr. Scott, saying that he feared for his life and those of his fellow officers.

“Officer Vinson acted lawfully when he shot Mr. Scott,” Mr. Murray said.

Mr. Murray said that despite claims that Mr. Scott was not carrying a gun, he had a .380 semiautomatic handgun with a round of ammunition in the chamber. “All of the credible and available evidence suggests that he was armed,” Mr. Murray said of Mr. Scott.

The shooting, at an apartment complex in Charlotte’s University City neighborhood, happened after two plainclothes officers determined that Mr. Scott, 43, was a potential threat to public safety because they saw him with a gun and what they believed was a marijuana cigarette.

The Police Department said that officers approached Mr. Scott in his vehicle because he was armed and that he ultimately defied “clear, loud and repeated verbal commands” to drop the handgun.

Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/30/us/charlotte-officer-acted-lawfully-in-fatal-shooting-of-keith-scott.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

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