Footage of Keith Scott shooting raises more questions

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Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts answers questions next to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney during a news conference regarding the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., September 23, 2016.     REUTERS/Mike Blake - RTSP5H0

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JUDY WOODRUFF: For the first time, the public is getting a look at the police shooting that rocked Charlotte, North Carolina. Keith Scott was killed Monday, and it turns out his wife recorded his last moments.

Be advised: The video may be disturbing to some.

RAKEYIA SCOTT, Wife of Keith Lamont Scott: Don’t shoot him. Don’t shoot him. He has no weapon.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The voice of Rakeyia Scott, pleading with Charlotte police, telling them her husband is unarmed and has a brain injury, as the confrontation quickly escalates.

MAN: Drop the gun! Drop the gun!

RAKEYIA SCOTT: He doesn’t have a gun. He has a TBI.

MAN: Drop the gun.

RAKEYIA SCOTT: He is not going to do anything to you guys.

He just took his medicine.

Keith, don’t let them break the windows. Come on out the car.

MAN: Drop the gun!

RAKEYIA SCOTT: Keith, don’t do it.

MAN: Drop the gun!

RAKEYIA SCOTT: Get out the car. Keith! Keith! Don’t you do it! Don’t you do it! Keith!

MAN: Drop the gun.

RAKEYIA SCOTT: Keith! Keith! Keith! Don’t you do it!


RAKEYIA SCOTT: Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him?

JUDY WOODRUFF: Keith Scott is now lying on the ground, as his wife screams.

RAKEYIA SCOTT: Did you shoot him? He better not be (EXPLETIVE DELETED) dead. He better not be (EXPLETIVE DELETED) dead.

PROTESTERS: Release the video! Release the video!

JUDY WOODRUFF: All of this as city officials face mounting pressure to release police body camera and dash cam video.

KERR PUTNEY, Charlotte Police Chief: One piece of evidence will never, ever make a good case. I know the expectation that video footage can be the panacea, and I can tell you that is not quite the case.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The city’s mayor said today the police video should be released, but only when it won’t jeopardize the investigation. Scott’s family has now seen the police footage, and is calling for its public release. And protesters kept up that call last night.

MELIK, Protester: If you want people to not come out here, and protest, and not to be suspicious or second-guess what’s going on with the politicians and the police, you need to have transparency. People need to — people need to know the truth.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Thursday’s demonstrations were largely peaceful, as the city imposed a midnight curfew, and National Guard troops helped patrol the streets.

Meanwhile, police say they arrested a suspect in the fatal shooting of a protester, Justin Carr, on Wednesday night. They gave no other details.

For more on that new video and the ongoing investigation, we turn to Yamiche Alcindor, who is covering the events in Charlotte for The New York Times. I spoke to her a short time ago.

Yamiche Alcindor, thank you very much for talking with us.

We just showed that video. You were one of the reporters the family gave this to. Where was Mr. Scott’s wife when she took this?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, The New York Times: Mr. Scott’s wife was nearby his car. She was in the complex where they lived together. They have been married about 20 years.

But she, from my understanding, what the lawyers told me, she had seen her husband sitting in the car. He flashed his cell phone at her indicating that he wanted — that he his phone was dying and that he wanted a charger. She then went inside to go get that cell phone charger. She was inside only for a couple of minutes, and then she came out.

And when she came out, she saw the scene unfolding and, as the scene was unfolding, she started to record her video, to record the video on her phone.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And it is very difficult to watch, as we just showed our audience.

What’s been the reaction? Has there been any official reaction since this has been out?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: From my understanding, we have asked for several hours now for a reaction from the city, and we have not, as of this hour, gotten any reaction from the city about this video.

I should say the police chief has said that the dash cam video, which is a different video than the video that was released today, but that that video doesn’t really answer all the questions and it’s not definitive what happened.

So, they have at least talked a little bit about what the video, all the videos that captured the shooting show. So, in that regard, they have done that. But they have not at all responded specifically to the video released today by the family of Keith Scott.

JUDY WOODRUFF: What questions, Yamiche, does this video answer? I know there are some blurry objects on the ground near where Mr. Scott’s body is lying. Is there any consensus on whether there was a gun?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The family has said — has told us through their attorneys that Mr. Scott didn’t own a gun. I was told by the attorneys today that the wife often cleaned that vehicle and that there was not a — she never saw a gun and that he didn’t own a gun.

However, the police, of course, have been very clear. They say that he did have a gun, that they had found a gun — that they had found a gun on him after the shooting. They’re not exactly sure where that gun was found. However, they are saying that there was a gun on the scene.

In terms of what this video — the questions this video answers, that was one of the first questions that I asked the attorney. And when I got on the phone, I made a list of questions. The first one I said was, well, what does this video show? What do you think that the video tells us?

And, really, they said this video doesn’t tell us all that much. It obviously just shows you kind of the emotion and the chaos that unfolded when Keith Scott was killed. But there really isn’t anything in terms of whether or not he had a gun in his hand, whether or not he was walking toward police or walking away from police. There was really no — there was really not much captured.

The video is very shaky, as your audience, I’m sure, has seen. And the idea is that this video really doesn’t show a clear picture even really of Keith Scott himself. However, I have been told by the attorneys that the dash cam video that they saw with the family, that that shows a lot more than the video that was released today.

They say that that video shows Keith Scott backing up and that he had his hands down at his side. They said that there was some sort of object in his left hand, but they’re not sure what that object was. They are saying that he was right-handed, and that they are not — and that that would be the hand that he — so, in other words, he would be holding an object in the hand that he wouldn’t have usually been using primarily.

But the family is not at all saying specifically to me that he didn’t have a gun in his hand. They are saying that no one has seen a gun on him and that they didn’t believe that he owned a gun.

However, I have been talking to the attorneys now for two days, and they’re not telling me definitely he definitely didn’t have a gun, the video shows that he didn’t have a gun. They’re definitely not saying that

JUDY WOODRUFF: And just quickly, Yamiche, reaction in the community to this? What are they saying? What are people saying?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: People are saying that this video illustrates that the police really need to release the videos that they have, the dash cam video and the body cam video, need to give us more information about what happened.

The people I have talked to so far say that the fact they’re screaming, you know, gun and they’re saying put your hands up, and the wife is screaming he doesn’t have a gun and trying to explain to them that he has a traumatic brain injury, that he had just taken his medication, that indicates to people that I have talked to that the police really were looking at this and looking at Keith Scott as someone who was violent from the beginning, and they were not really taking into consideration the fact that this might have someone who was disabled, someone whose wife was standing there really trying to explain to them the situation.

So people are very angry at seeing this video. But I should say that people also say this doesn’t prove that he didn’t point a gun at police. So they really want all the other videos to be released as well.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Yamiche Alcindor, reporting in Charlotte, we thank you.


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