CHARLOTTE — Top officials on Sunday lifted a curfew in place since Thursday in last week's fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.
In a tweet late Sunday, Mayor Jennifer Roberts and Trevor M. Fuller, chairman of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, said the move was effective immediately. It follows several nights of protests since the Sept. 20 shooting.
Scott's family earlier said images in video footage released Saturday in the shooting left many questions unanswered.
"It does not make sense to us how this incident resulted in the loss of life ... and it’s not clear in the videos that were released," said Ray Dotch, Scott's brother-in-law.
Dotch said the family was "delighted" the videos were released but said at a news conference Saturday night, "Unfortunately, we are left with far more questions than we have answers."
Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney said there "is no definitive, visual evidence" that Scott had a gun in his hand before Tuesday's shooting. "You see something in the hand and that he pointed it at an officer," Putney said before the videos were released. The department has said officers perceived Scott's movements as posing an imminent threat.
The shooting has inflamed tensions across the city, and extra security was in place for Sunday’s Carolina Panthers game. Police declared the football game an “extraordinary event,” allowing tighter security and bag searches.
About 100 protesters gathered outside Bank of America Stadium before the kickoff at 1 p.m., some chanting in voices left hoarse by a sixth day of protests.
“We want to let people know that there’s more going on on a Sunday than a Panthers game,” said organizer Ashley Williams of Charlotte’s Trans Queer People of Color Collective. Williams said she and others are angry that the released police videos appeared incomplete, and some portions contained no audio.
“We didn’t know in our demands that we would have to demand all the footage and tell them not to edit it, and we’d have to ask for sound, for crying out loud,” Williams said.
During the protests, a woman carrying a "free hugs" sign made her way through the crowd, hugging both the bicycle officers watching over the crowd and some of the protesters who were locked arm-in-arm.
"It doesn't negate justice, accountability and equity," said Dani Cook, who said she was self-employed, in reference to her hugs. "I can want to hug people. I can want to love people. I can also say there needs to be justice. There needs to be accountability. They're not separate."
As he warmed up for the game, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton wore a T-shirt emblazoned with a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. on the back. The dark shirt read "Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat to Justice Everywhere."
Newton earlier this week called Scott's fatal shooting "embarrassing" and touched on a "state of oppression in our community," the Associated Press reported.
"My big thing is holding people accountable — no matter what the race, no matter what the gender is, no matter what the age is," the league MVP said. "I'm an African-American and I'm not happy how the justice has been dealt with over the years, and the state of oppression in our community, but we also as black people have to do right by ourselves. We can't be hypocrites."
When the national anthem was played during Sunday's game, protesters dropped to one knee as many NFL players have done for weeks to call attention to issues including police shootings. Inside the stadium, Carolina safety Marcus Ball raised his fist during the anthem, The Associated Press reported.
Later Sunday, protesters clambered onto Interstate 277 through the city's downtown and began to block traffic until police arrived. The protesters ran, but one fell in front of an all-terrain vehicle operated by a Greensboro police officer helping the Charlotte force, police said. The protester, 26-year-old Donnell Jones of Missouri, was not hurt and was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Dashboard camera video released Saturday by Charlotte's police chief shows officers surrounding Scott’s car. Scott exits and steps backward away from the car, his hands at his side, as officers repeatedly yell, “Drop the gun.”
A few seconds later, shots are fired, and Scott falls to the ground. Officers surround Scott out of dashboard-camera range.
Charlotte police released the body camera footage of the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. USA TODAY
The shaky body cam video, also released by police, shows an officer circling Scott’s car. The picture picks up on Scott on the ground as an officer yells for handcuffs. Scott’s handcuffed hands are bloody, and the sound of moaning can be heard.
An officer asks for medical equipment and says, “We need to hold the wound.” The video then stops.
A case update that accompanied the video provided the police report of the incident. It stated that two plainclothes officers were sitting in their unmarked police car, preparing to serve an arrest warrant, when Scott pulled up in his white SUV.
The officers said Scott rolled what they believed to be a marijuana “blunt.” A short time later, an officer reportedly saw Scott hold a gun up.
“Due to the combination of illegal drugs and the gun Mr. Scott had in his possession, officers decided to take enforcement action for public safety concerns,” the report says. Officers departed “to outfit themselves with marked duty vests and equipment that would clearly identify them as police officers.”
When they returned, the officers again saw Scott with a gun, the report says.
“The officers immediately identified themselves as police officers and gave clear, loud and repeated verbal commands to drop the gun. Mr. Scott refused to follow the officers' repeated verbal commands,” the report says.
When another officer used his baton to break the front passenger window, Scott got out of the vehicle, “while continuing to ignore officers’ repeated loud verbal commands to drop the gun,” according to the report.
Officer Brentley Vinson, who fatally shot Scott, "perceived Mr. Scott’s actions and movements as an imminent physical threat to himself and the other officers,” the report states.
The report featured pictures of the "gun, ankle holster and marijuana 'blunt.'"
Justin Bamberg, one of the lawyers for the Scott family, said Saturday after the video release that many questions need to be answered.
"Do those actions, do those precious seconds, justify this shooting? That is the most important question," Bamberg said.
Bamberg noted there was no "definitive evidence" of Scott holding a gun. "He’s not aggressively moving toward law enforcement officers, he’s doing the opposite," he said. "He’s passively stepping back."
Authorities had declined to release the footage, arguing it could jeopardize the integrity of the investigation of the shooting that has been taken over by the State Bureau of Investigation. Putney said at the news conference that he no longer had those concerns.
Putney emphasized he was not swayed by the protests or the release Friday of cellphone video by Scott's wife of the scene.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department officers deploy outside of Bank of America Stadium prior to the game between the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 25, 2016 in Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte has been the site of civil unrest since Keith Lamont Scott, 43, was shot and killed by police officers at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. Streeter Lecka, Getty Images
Putney said his officers didn’t break the law but noted the State Bureau of Investigation is continuing its investigation. “Officers are absolutely not being charged by me, but again, there’s another investigation ongoing,” he said.
A video captured by the wife of Keith Scott depicts the moments before and after he was fatally shot by police officers in Charlotte this week. Time
In the family video taken by Scott's wife, Rakeyia, she tries to convince police not to shoot her husband. Though it does not show the fatal shooting, it is punctuated with shouts by police to Keith Scott to drop his gun, followed by four shots in rapid succession.
The Scott family and some neighborhood witnesses claimed Scott did not have a gun but was sitting in his car, reading a book while awaiting the arrival of his son on a school bus when police approached.
Police rejected that claim, saying he was armed and his weapon was confiscated at the scene.
Contributing: Alison Young
Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.
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