The North Carolina NAACP has joined with other civil rights organizations in calling on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to release any video that might shed light on the killing of Keith Lamont Scott, who died Tuesday after being shot by a CMPD officer.
“We call for the full release of all facts available,” state NAACP President William Barber said statement released to media. “We ask that the city of Charlotte be transparent with any video and any additional information held by the city that can bring light in the tragic death…”
The ACLU of North Carolina called and the North Carolina Open Government Coalition have also called on CMPD to release any video footage that captured the shooting of Scott.
“In the interest of transparency and accountability, and particularly in light of conflicting accounts about the shooting, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department should quickly release any and all footage it has of the events leading up to the shooting, as well as the shooting itself.,” Karen Anderson, Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina, said in a statement Wednesday.
At a Wednesday morning press conference, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said his department would not release police video until the department has completed its investigation. Among other reasons, he cited a new North Carolina law that prohibits police departments from releasing police video without a court order. But according to the Charlotte Observer, that new law does not take effect until Oct. 1.
Scott, 43, died Tuesday after being shot by CMPD officer Brentley Vinson. His death sparked a night a clashes between police and angry protesters near University City.
CMPD reported that 16 officers were slightly injured and one protester was arrested.
Putney told reporters repeatedly that Scott was carrying a gun when officers confronted him in the parking lot of an apartment complex. But some residents who said they saw the shooting dispute that Scott was armed, insisting that he held only a book.
Putney said he had seen some of the police video footage but declined to describe in depth what it revealed.
“The videos I have viewed, I cannot see the totality of everything that occurred,” he told reporters.
Barber, the state NAACP leaders, said his organization would withhold judgment until more facts are known. He said he would come to Charlotte on Thursday meet with Scott’s family and community leaders.
“Our objective is simple: to ensure justice-loving people act toward Justice, with all evidence, and that we stand together and act from a place of power and love, rather than out of fear and anger,” Barber said. “Our Movement must always ensure our work promotes both Truth and Justice; in many cultures and languages, these two sacred ideas are one word and one idea.”
Barber said he stands firmly with those who “exercise the right to peacefully protest,” and warned against “efforts that undermine the legitimate calls for justice with unjust, random or purposeless acts of violence.”
The unrest in Charlotte comes amid a national outcry against police tactics that have left scores of African Americans dead, especially African American males.
In uptown Charlotte on Wednesday, some businesses let their employees go home early in anticipation of another night of clashes between police and protesters. As rush hour began, protestors and community activists began moving into uptown Charlotte carrying signs and chanting slogans often associated with the Black Live Matter movement. Several hours into their protests, however, no violence had been reported.
By 9 p.m., police were using tear gas to disperse a crowd that had grown unruly.