On Tuesday, September 20th, Keith Scott, a black man in Charlotte North Carolina, was shot and killed by the police. Officers report telling Scott to drop his gun multiple times before Brently Vinson shot and killed Scott. He at first was thought to be a suspect Charlotte police were searching for, and then became a threat when officers believed him to have a gun.
A loaded gun with Scott's fingerprints was reported at the scene. His wife, Rakeyia Scott, released a video taken during the shooting. It shows the police yelling "drop the gun" and she shouts back that he is unarmed, and also tells Keith "don't do it," though there is no context for what she is telling him not to do.
New information has been released that there is now proof that Scott was holding a gun and it was not planted on him. He also had multiple issues with his family including domestic violence.
Police Recently Released Body Cam Footage
The police on the scene of Scott's shooting were wearing body cameras. However, for the first four days the police department was refusing to release the video shot of the incident.
They claimed that it is not clear whether he was holding a gun on their cameras and the video could add fuel to the fire. Though the video supposedly doesn't prove the existence of a gun, the force is not backing down from the claim that Scott was, in fact, carrying a gun.
Since the beginning coverage of the controversy, the footage has been released to the public. The videos have people further questioning whether Scott was threatening enough to have been shot, as the gun isn't visible and he is backing up from the police. However, there are claims online that using both the body cam footage and the video from Scott's wife, there is proof that the gun was not planted. The first 25 seconds of audio are also missing.
Research has shown that refusing to release body camera footage from officers decreases trust because citizens then believe that there is something to hide. "It's just not clear to me why this category of video footage is so different than everything else that is created by public employees, that it needs to be treated in this really unique way that makes it really hard for the public to get access to it," Michael Rich, law professor at Elon University.
Protests Break Out In Charlotte Over Racial Injustice
For four nights after the shooting of Keith Scott, protesters took to the streets to demonstrate that they would no longer stand for police brutality and injustice. The chants of the crowd included "black lives matter" and "hands up, don't shoot!" While most of the protesters were peaceful, some of the participants were more rowdy and destructive.
The protests became more violent with tear gas being used on the crowds and one officer getting hit in the face with a rock. 16 people were injured. In addition to that, a Walmart was looted, police cars were broken into, and semi trucks on I-85 were broken into and looted.
Beyond all of this violence, there is still the message of needing justice for unarmed or non-dangerous people who are being killed by the police for the color of their skin. People are angry, and this resentment is building up as more and more black men are discriminated against and ultimately killed by the police.
Black Lives Matter and Police Brutality in America
America's obviously has a large past of racism. Though the barriers between the races aren't as pronounced or common anymore, and some people like to deny they exist, there remains a divide between how certain races are treated.
African Americans are killed by police at much higher rates per capita compared to their white counterparts. Whites make up about 62% of the population and 49% of police deaths, while African Americans are 13% of the population and 24% of victims. Therefore, blacks are roughly 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police.
"There's still a lot we don't know yet about what happened in both [Charlotte and Tulsa] incidents but we do know that we have two more names to add to a long list of African Americans killed by police officers," said Hillary Clinton at a speech in Orlando.