No charges for Charlotte police officer who shot Keith Scott
The police officer who fatally shot a black man in Charlotte, North Carolina in September will not face charges.
Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray said on Wednesday that officer Brentley Vinson, who is also black, acted lawfully when he fired on Keith Lamont Scott.
“It’s a justified shooting based on the totality of the circumstances,” Murray said.
Scott’s death sparked days of protests that sometimes turned violent. Demonstrators said the shooting was unjustified and pointed to video that showed Scott walking backward before police fired.
According to police reports, police were waiting at an apartment complex to serve a warrant to another individual when Scott drove up in his SUV.
The officers said they saw Scott hold up a gun, so they ordered him to drop it. Police said Scott repeatedly ignored their commands.
After the shooting, Scott’s wife said Scott didn’t have a gun in his hands and was instead reading book.
Authorities said they did find a gun, which had been reported stolen in Gaston County, with Scott’s fingerprints and DNA. The district attorney said they did not find a book in the car.
Murray said he consulted 15 other prosecutors who all agreed with his decision not to prosecute Vinson. None of the other officers on the scene will face charges either.
Charles Monnett, an attorney for the Scott family, said on Wednesday that the decision “doesn’t end our inquiry” into the death.
“We still have real questions about what decisions were made that day,” Monnett said, according to CNN.
Justin Bamberg, another attorney representing the Scott family, said on Wednesday that it was “safe to say” that Scott had “a gun on person” during the shooting, CNN reported. But Bamberg said there wasn’t enough evidence to prove Scott was holding the weapon at the time he was shot.
The police department is preparing for potential protests after the district attorney’s announcement.
Vinson has been on administrative leave since the incident.. He has been with the department since July of 2014 and had no record of disciplinary actions prior to the shooting.