The Citizens Review Board isn’t ready to sign off on CMPD’s ruling that the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott was justified.
In a closed-door session on Tuesday, the board decided that there was “substantial evidence of error” in CMPD’s decision.
The board agreed to hold a second hearing in August to weigh more evidence, The Charlotte Observer reported. The big question: Did Officer Brentley Vinson act lawfully when he shot Scott during a Sept. 20 confrontation outside a University City apartment complex?
Scott’s death sparked several nights of protests and riots, which caused minor property damage and led to dozens of arrests.
CMPD decided in April that Vinson acted according to department procedures when he shot Scott, who had a gun and marijuana when police confronted him inside a parked vehicle in the parking lot of his apartment complex. Vinson has told investigators he shot Scott out of fear for his life and the lives of other officers at the scene.
Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray also said the shooting was justified and decided not to charge Vinson with a crime.
What happens if the board votes that Vinson was not justified in shooting Scott?
The board could recommend that CMPD change its finding. In that case, Vinson could be subject to disciplinary action, but not a criminal charge.
For now, it’s all just speculation.
The Citizens Review Board was created in 1997 to hear from citizens who allege police misconduct and are not satisfied with actions taken by the department. In the years since then, the board has reviewed 79 cases and has never sided with a citizen complaint, according to a 2013 Observer investigation.
So what next?
The next board hearing is scheduled for Aug. 8 at 9 a.m., when board members will review more evidence in the Scott case. Witnesses also may be called to testify, and the Scott family and CMPD will be able to make their cases to the board.
Julian Wright, attorney for the board, told the Observer the meeting will “look a lot like a trial.”
The city released a statement Tuesday night in support of the board’s decision.
“The work of the Citizens Review Board is crucial in ensuring transparency, fairness and accountability,” Sandy D’Elosua Vastola, a city spokesperson said in the statement. “The City of Charlotte respects today’s decision by the Citizens Review Board and thanks the members of the board for their service.”