Putney: The family of Keith Scott will get to see police video

Chief Kerr Putney of CMPD said the family of Keith Scott -- but not the public -- will be allowed see video of the police shooting that claimed the life of the 43-year-old Charlotte man.

Chief Kerr Putney of CMPD said the family of Keith Scott will be allowed see video of the police shooting that claimed the life of the 43-year-old man.

Speaking to reporters Thursday at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, Putney said the family had requested to see the video. But he repeated an earlier position that he would not release the video for the public to see.

“If there is compelling information that I think will help, we’ll show it,” he said. “But again, I’m going to be very intentional about protecting the integrity of the investigation, and in so doing, I’m not going to release the video.”

Putney’s refusal comes as a growing list of civil rights organizations – including the state NAACP and the ACLU North Carolina – have called on the department to make the video public.

Putney, who said he has seen the video, said it is inconclusive as to whether Scott pointed a gun at officers who approached him in a the parking lot of an apartment complex near University City.

“The video does not give me absolute, definitive visual evidence that would confirm that a person was pointing a gun,” he said. “I did not see that in the videos I reviewed. But what I can tell you, though, is that when you take in the totality of all the other evidence, it supports what we have heard and the version of the truth that we gave about the circumstance that happened that led to the death of Mr. Scott.”

The presence of a gun may be crucial to the outcome of CMPD’s investigation. Some residents who claim to have witnessed the shooting have said Scott did not have a gun at all.

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When pressed by reporters about the need for public transparency, Putney said again that the video would not be released.

“Some people have already made up their minds what happened,” he said. “We’ve given multiple facts, and there will be an update later this afternoon about more additional information. But that still doesn’t change the mindset and the perspective of some who want to break the law and tear down our city.

Putney and Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts also defended their handling of protestors Wednesday night, when one person was shot and several uptown businesses were looted and vandalized.

Roberts said she turned down an offer from Gov. Pat McCrory to supply National Guard troops early Wednesday because she, Putney and other officials representing first responders did not foresee events spiraling out of hand as they eventually did. The Wednesday protests started peacefully, she said, and only turned violent late into the evening.

“We are a team here in Charlotte,” she said. “I rely on my experts to give me to appropriate advice at the appropriate time with the appropriate resources that will be needed.”

In related developments, city officials also announced:

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No uptown curfew…at least for now: Roberts left open the possibility that a curfew might be imposed later, she said she would wait to see what happens today. Meanwhile, some of the city’s faith leader, led by state NAACP President William Barber, met at Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church, where they renounced the idea of a curfew. They said they also opposed the decision to call in the National Guard.

• A new investigation: Putney said CMPD would investigate rumors that a man who was shot during Wednesday night’s unrest was shot by a CMPD officer. “As I said before, we are here to seek the truth, so we are investigating that to find the truth, the absolute truth, as best the evidence can show us,” he said. Clergy members who were on the scene said on Thursday that they, too, had questions about what happened and who actually shot the man, who, at last report, was on life support.

• Multiple arrests and injuries: Putney said CMPD made 44 arrests in uptown Charlotte Wednesday night. Charges included failure to disperse, assault and breaking and entering. Two officers suffered minor injuries, along with nine civilians. Three additional officers were treated for heat-related issues.

Glenn Burkins
Glenn is founder and publisher of Qcitymetro.com. He's worked at the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and Charlotte Observer.
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