Keith Lamont Scott’s family will view police video, but the department won’t release it publicly

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney at a Thursday morning press conference. CREDIT: AP Images
CMPD Chief Kerr Putney at a Thursday morning press conference. CREDIT: AP Images

After public outcry over the department’s decision not to release video footage from the scene of this week’s deadly police shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina, police chief Kerr Putney announced at a press conference on Thursday that the family of Keith Lamont Scott would be shown the video.

“Right now, what we’re going to do is honor a request that has been made by the family,” said Putney. “They made a request to see [the video], and we’re looking to accomodate that request.”

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Putney also alluded to an impending investigation as the reason why the department was balking at the public release of the video.

“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 right now,” he said.

Putney’s reasoning for the department’s refusal to release the video has changed multiple times in just the past 24 hours. On Wednesday morning, he told reporters at a press conference that state law prohibits him from releasing the video without a court order. But a law that would clearly bar the videos’ release is not yet in effect. And police department attorney Mark Newbold acknowledged to ThinkProgress that the department has some discretion under existing law, and “it’s fair to say we have several competing interests we had to weigh.”

Putney did answer more questions about what the video contains, saying that there is no definitive evidence that Scott pointed a gun at anyone, as the police department has alleged.

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“The video does not give me absolute, definitive, visual evidence that would confirm that a person is pointing a gun. I did not see that in the videos that I’ve reviewed,” said Putney. “What I can tell you though is, when taken in the totality of all the other evidence, it supports what we’ve heard in the version of the truth that we gave about the circumstances that happened, that lead to the death of Mr. Scott.”

Putney also suggested that the department might release selective portions of the video that might dispel some of the misinformation that has helped fuel two nights of violent protests in the city. “If there is compelling information I think that helps, we’ll show it. But again im going to be very intentional about protecting the integrity of the investigation.”

After a second night of protests that sent at least one person to the hospital in critical condition after being shot, Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency and deployed the national guard to Charlotte in an attempt to curb further violence.