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Saturday, September 24, 2016

VIDEO: Police footage of Keith Lamont Scott's shooting released

Posted By on Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 7:26 PM

Still from the body cam footage of a uniformed officer on the scene when Keith Lamont Scott was shot
  • Still from the body cam footage of a uniformed officer on the scene when Keith Lamont Scott was shot

CMPD this afternoon released footage from a body camera and a dashboard camera that caught parts of an incident on Tuesday that ended with a police officer shooting and killing Keith Lamont Scott. 

While the body camera footage, from a uniformed officer who showed up on the scene after the confrontation began, doesn't show much beyond him trying to break Scott's window and then coming around the vehicle to find Scott lying on the ground, the same officer's dash cam footage shows Scott being shot after exiting his car and backing towards the police cruiser. The sound is also off on the body camera footage until about the 21-second mark. 

A still from the dash cam footage just before Keith Lamont Scott was shot.
  • A still from the dash cam footage just before Keith Lamont Scott was shot.

Along with the footage, CMPD released a detailed statement telling their version of events that transpired on Tuesday afternoon, when officers waiting in The Village at College Downs to carry out a warrant on someone other than Scott confronted him and officer Brentley Vinson shot him. 

According to CMPD's statement, two plain-clothes officers were sitting in a car waiting to serve the warrant when Scott pulled up beside them in his white SUV. They allegedly saw Scott rolling a blunt — marijuana wrapped in cigar paper — but were not concerned with confronting him until they allegedly saw him hold a gun up. 

The officers then moved away from the scene to put on marked vests that identified them as police before confronting Scott, who they say refused their verbal commands to exit the vehicle. At this time, the uniformed officer arrived and came around the back of the vehicle and began hitting the window. It was then that Scott exited the vehicle with a gun, police say, and backed away from his vehicle. 

According to the statement, Vinson "perceived Mr. Scott's actions and movements as an imminent physical threat to himself and other officers," and opened fire, hitting Scott four times. In the video, Scott does not appear to pose a threat in a way that involves pointing a gun or anything of that manner. No gun can clearly be seen in the video. 

Police also released photos of the gun they say Scott was holding (left), an ankle holster than can be seen on his ankle in the footage and the blunt they say he was rolling. 

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Today's Top 5: Saturday

Posted By on Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 9:28 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Sept. 24, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

International Festival at UNC-Charlotte

• Stand Against HB2 - North Carolina Musicians United for Equality NC at Neighborhood Theatre

Lake Norman Beerfest at Galway Hooker

Queen City Anthology at C3 Lab

• Forlorn Strangers & Old Salt Union at Double Door Inn

Friday, September 23, 2016

Today's Top 5: Friday

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 5:21 PM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Sept. 23, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Dirty Dancing at Ovens Auditorium

• Opening reception for Charlotte’s Road to Revolution exhibit at Charlotte Museum of History

Fall Food Truck Rally at Rural Hill

• Annabell Leigh, Blackwater Drowning, Shadows of Deceit & Exiles at Milestone

Festival in the Park at Freedom Park

SLIDESHOW: Third night of protests remains relatively peaceful

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 4:44 PM

Hundreds of protesters, some from cities as far as Chicago, New York and Toronto, came together in Uptown Charlotte last night to march through the city asking for the release of body camera and dashboard camera footage of Keith Lamont Scott's killing. 

Protesters in front of CMPD headquarters. - RYAN PITKIN
  • Ryan Pitkin
  • Protesters in front of CMPD headquarters.

Protesters marched through the city multiple times, stopping at the CMPD headquarters and Charlotte Jail Central before making their way to the I-277 outer loop, where they shut down traffic for 10 minutes or so. Police eventually dispersed the crowd by firing pepper balls, a chemical projectile similar to pepper spray, and paintballs. 

CL contributor Lara Americo and news editor Ryan Pitkin were alongside protesters throughout the night and took the pictures in the slideshow below: 
Third day of Charlotte protests (9/22/16)
Third day of Charlotte protests (9/22/16) Third day of Charlotte protests (9/22/16) Third day of Charlotte protests (9/22/16) Third day of Charlotte protests (9/22/16) Third day of Charlotte protests (9/22/16) Third day of Charlotte protests (9/22/16) Third day of Charlotte protests (9/22/16) Third day of Charlotte protests (9/22/16)

Third day of Charlotte protests (9/22/16)

By Lara Americo and Ryan Pitkin

Click to View 37 slides

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NBC News releases footage of Keith Lamont Scott's shooting

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 1:53 PM

A video released by NBC News this afternoon reportedly filmed by Keith Lamont Scott's wife shows the moments leading up to and following Scott's shooting at the hands of CMPD officers. The video is rolling at the moment Scott is shot, but does not capture the shooting on screen. 

The video is sure to raise more questions than it answers, as no gun can clearly be seen at any point in the video. Scott's wife, Reykia Scott, does warn police near the beginning of the video that Keith does not have a weapon and that he just took his medicine for a traumatic brain injury, referring to a bicycle wreck Scott suffered a year ago that left him disabled. 

Reykia repeats "he better live" — an expression that had already been used widely on social media as a hashtag just minutes after the video's release — to officers as he lies on the ground of Lexington Circle, where he was waiting for his son to return home from school. 

The shooting sparked protests in Charlotte throughout the last three days that ended in damaged property and a man shot dead in Uptown on Wednesday night. We will update this story with the thoughts of local leaders as it develops. 

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Today's Top 5: Thursday

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 12:35 PM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Sept. 22, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

• Soigné: Tephra Vegan Pop-up Dinner at The Art Of Vape

Dirty Art Club at Snug Harbor

Full Bloom Film Festival in Statesville

Charlotte Auto Fair at Charlotte Motor Speedway

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche at Warehouse PAC

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Chief Putney and Mayor Roberts speak on last night's protests, today's preparations

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 3:07 PM

Mayor Jennifer Roberts and CMPD Chief Kerr Putney held another press conference this morning following a night of peaceful protests that ended in violence and destruction of property in Uptown.

Following that press conference, leaders with the North Carolina and Charlotte NAACP and other area clergy members held a press conference emphasizing the fact that a large majority of protesters on site last night were peaceful, calling on media to speak with those on the ground who have been organizing locally for years [which CL has done and plans to continue to do today].

At this press conference, leaders such as NC NAACP President Rev. William Barber stressed the diversity among peaceful protesters who now work with the Black Lives Matter movement and other similar organizations as a sign that the crisis, and the movement to fight against it, is growing.

While we were not able to transcribe that conference as we did the press conference quoted below, it can be watched in its entirety here.

At the Government Center, Putney and Roberts answered questions from reporters regarding the body camera footage of Keith Scott’s shooting, which sparked protests over the last two nights; a lack of preparation for last night’s protests; and whether law enforcement is ready for what could happen tonight following the declaration of a state of emergency late last night, which has brought troops from the National Guard and State Highway Patrol into the city.

Mayor Roberts addresses national and local media this morning at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center. - RYAN PITKIN
  • Ryan Pitkin
  • Mayor Roberts addresses national and local media this morning at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center.

The following are direct quotes from the press conference:

On the shooting of a protester in front of the Omni Hotel, reports of which as an act f violence between two protesters have been disputed by eyewitnesses, who believe an officer fired on the victim

Kerr Putney: At about 8:30 [p.m.] we had officers who responded to N. College Street and E. Trade Street for an assault with a deadly weapon call. One person was located with an apparent gunshot wound and he was located there in the Omni Hotel. Right now, that shooting victim is in critical condition. Due to concerns around security, the victim was evacuated by our Bearcat; our SWAT armored personnel carrier. We couldn’t get Medic in at the time because of the size of the crowd. The victim was then transferred to Medic and was transported to CMC Main as I said with life-threatening injuries.

At that point, because of the size of the crowd, we deployed gas and that would have been at about 8:43 p.m. The reason I say I’m not defending a position is, the shooting that took place, there’s a lot of information about who did that shooting. We’re reviewing video and we’re assessing our people who were there as well because an allegation was made that one of our officers might have been involved. As I said before guys ,we’re here to seek the truth so we’re investigating that to find the truth, the absolute truth, as best the evidence can show us.

On plans and strategy in the city today and tonight

Putney: We have a full complement of our civil emergency unit (CEU) ready to continue working to prevent violent crime, assaultive behavior and property crime as well. We have our officers assigned to foot patrol, bike patrol, the Enduro, dirtbikes, as well as patrolling in our mobile CEU vans. You will see a heavy uniformed presence, obviously. Our aviation unit will continue to be our eyes on the sky and give us an aerial view that we couldn’t have otherwise. We continue to use our real-time crime center to give us a technological advantage with roughly 1,000 cameras that help protect our cities.

As I said before, the National Guard and SHP will help us with infrastructure. They’ll help provide protection for our buildings so that we can avoid further damage. This allows us and my CMPD resources to focus on the people who are committing crimes; who are damaging property and assaulting our people. Despite this great commitment by state and local resources, we still need to lean on our greatest partners, our strongest asset, and that is our community. We ask that you continue to let us know when you see things that are happening that are inappropriate and when you see crimes occur. We appreciate that people are posting things that they see. Because I can tell you, we use those opportunities to fully investigate all crimes and all allegations relative to what goes on in a chaotic scene.

On why a state of emergency wasn’t called earlier in the day, so as to have more resources available

Jennifer Roberts: We were in conversation. I was in conversation with the governor early in the morning. During the day, the center city was peaceful. During the day, we had indication of peaceful protests. We saw some peaceful protests. We are a team here in Charlotte. I rely on my experts to give me the appropriate advice at the time for the appropriate resources that will be needed. I was in constant contact with the chief — chief of police, the fire chief, Medic, all the folks who are first responders. We were in constant contact. We made the decision collaboratively when those resources were needed at the appropriate time.

On when or if the city plans to release the body cam footage of Keith Scott’s shooting

Putney: When are we going to release it? Ultimately, our practice has been not to release, but to allow for the party who feels they’ve been mistreated in any way to see that. A request has come our way to do just that and we’re going to honor that request. But there are other things that are going on too about — just to be quite frank with you — whether there’s going to be an outside investigation. At that point, it would halt what we’re doing moving forward as far as releasing anything. Right now what we’re going to do is honor the request that has been made with the family, because it’s still in my purview to do so, but beyond that it’ll be much more collaborative.

There’s a difference between disclosure — allowing someone to see it, and that would be the party that feels they’ve been aggrieved — and released would be to the masses and that’s what I’m not going to do.

What I can tell you that I saw and I was very clear when I talked about this before, is the video does not give me absolute definitive visual evidence that would confirm that a person is pointing the gun. I did not see that in the videos that I reviewed. What I can tell you though is that when taken in the totality of all the other evidence, it supports what we’ve heard and the version of the truth that we gave about the circumstances that happened that led to the death of Mr. Scott.
Protests in Uptown (9/21/16)
Protests in Uptown (9/21/16) Protests in Uptown (9/21/16) Protests in Uptown (9/21/16) Protests in Uptown (9/21/16) Protests in Uptown (9/21/16) Protests in Uptown (9/21/16) Protests in Uptown (9/21/16) Protests in Uptown (9/21/16)

Protests in Uptown (9/21/16)

A collection of photos of last night's protests in Uptown from CL contributor Zach NeSmith

By Zach NeSmith

Click to View 25 slides

On whether the CMPD would release it if they felt it would quell the potential for violence

Putney: I can tell you this, as I said yesterday, there’s your truth, my truth and the truth. Some people have already made up their mind what happened. We’ve given multiple facts and there will be an update later this afternoon about more additional information we’re getting. But that still doesn’t change the mindset and the perspective of some who want to break the law and tear down our city. So if there is compelling info that I think helps, we’ll show it, but again 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.

We release it when we believe it is a compelling reason, but I’m not going to jeopardize the investigation. Right now, even though we’re investigating we probably won’t be long-term because a request has also been made that an objective party, the SBI (State Bureau of Investigations), move forward with the investigation. So we’re not going to release anything that would be on somebody else to release.

On how Putney can square his calls for transparency with his refusal to release the footage

Putney: I never said full transparency. I said transparency and transparency is in the eye of the beholder. I can tell you the party right now who really is my priority in honoring that request is the people who really are the victims of the shooting. So what I’m going to do is honor that request and I’ll tell you, if you think I say we should display a victim’s worst day for public consumption, that is not the transparency I’m speaking of.

On the potential for a curfew in the city

Putney: This designation allows for that. I don’t intend to use it unless it becomes an issue and we need to clear the streets sooner. It depends on what we encounter. I can’t tell you a definitive time. It’s going to depend on what we see and use that to better manage and allow for public safety.

Reporter: Why not just say everyone has to be off the streets at 8 p.m.?

Putney: We’ve done that in the past to when we saw the need. Right now we don’t see the need to shut the city down at a specific hour.

Reporter: After two nights of violence?

Putney: Yes ma’am, my answer doesn’t change. We don’t see a need to definitively shut the city down at a specific hour because we can’t anticipate. What we do know is we have the resources now to protect infrastructure and to be a lot more proactive in arresting people who commit criminal acts.

On what’s being done to prevent any more violence or destruction of property

Roberts: The resources that will be deployed [Note: Putney had stated at an earlier times that “several hundred more people” would be on the ground protecting infrastructure], the change in strategy and the continued collaboration with the community that we are determined. The safety of our citizens is our highest priority. We can look at experience, we can’t predict what will happen. There are many conversations going on in our community and again I applaud our community leaders. There are many efforts to reach out to the folks who are angry to get them to stand down. Even today while we’re speaking, I know of meetings that are ongoing right now where great leaders who have the trust and faith of their congregations and their communities and neighborhoods are having tough conversations and saying violence is not the answer.

Every situation is volatile and we will do as much as we can to ensure that safety. We cant guarantee not knowing what instance will happen, what groups will be gathered, but we have every confidence that we are going to put the resources in place that are required and needed And it is my sincere hope, I reach out to the comm. I ask for continued convo, all those leaders who have reached out to me personally, you are amazing in the message that you are carrying about nonviolence and I have faith that we will continue to progress.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Today's Top 5: Wednesday

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 3:58 PM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Sept. 21, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Built to Spill at Neighborhood Theatre
Built To Spill (Photo by Laurence Bishop)
  • Built To Spill (Photo by Laurence Bishop)

Charlotte Independence Fan Appreciation Night at Abari

The Cult at The Fillmore

Saturday Night Fever at Theatre Charlotte

Sevendust at Amos' Southend

Press conferences held in response to last night's unrest

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 12:49 PM

Residents begin to gather at the scene of Keith Scott's shooting. - RYAN PITKIN
  • Ryan Pitkin
  • Residents begin to gather at the scene of Keith Scott's shooting.

Charlotte officials and community leaders held two separate press conferences this morning in response to the unrest that followed the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott by a police officer in northeast Charlotte yesterday afternoon.

The incident has underscored a growing distrust between members of the community and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, as statements from the department have been either disputed or ignored by those who are calling for justice for Scott.

Residents argue with officers blocking off the crime scene early on Tuesday night. - RYAN PITKIN
  • Ryan Pitkin
  • Residents argue with officers blocking off the crime scene early on Tuesday night.
As CMPD Chief Kerr Putney has spent the morning reiterating the department’s original claim that Scott was holding a gun when he was shot, Scott’s neighbors — some of whom say they witnessed the shooting — continue to dispute those claims, stating that he was holding a book and not a gun.

Some of these witnesses have even claimed that the department lied about who shot Scott. The department has said that the officer in question was named Brentley Vinson. Neighbors who say they witnessed the shooting have said to reporters today that the officer was white, while Vinson is black.

At a press conference at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center this morning, Putney said that no book was found at the scene of the shooting, only a gun near Scott’s body. He said he has watched some of the body camera footage from three officers on the scene with Vinson at the time of the shooting — Vinson was not wearing a camera — but that he “cannot see in totality everything that occurred” during the incident.

At the press conference, Putney said no body camera footage or still picture from the footage can be released by law because it is still a part of the investigation, while Mayor Jennifer Roberts asked that the public “give us time to get the right information.” It’s doubtful that the footage will ever see the light of day, however, as Gov. Pat McCrory passed a law in July regulating the release of such footage.

Putney and Roberts spoke of the chance of more protests tonight, after 16 officers were injured during unrest that took place in the University area overnight. Roberts asked that folks stay calm while Putney ensured those at the government center that his officers would be ready for protests tonight. He also stated that more arrests might be made in connection to last night’s protests, in addition to the one already made, as his officers review video footage of the unrest that blocked off portions of Old Concord Road, Harris Boulevard and I-85.

“Our intent is to bring everyone to justice who violated the law,” he said. Multiple CMPD vehicles were damaged and one tractor trailer was broken into on I-85 while blocked by protesters.

During a press conference held by representatives of True Healing Under God (T.H.U.G.), John Barnett emphasized that it did not matter if Scott was armed during the time of the shooting, but only whether he pointed a gun at police. Putney had stated earlier in his press conference that he was unsure of whether Scott had pointed a gun, but that an armed person's body language and movements can be taken as a threat without that person necessarily pointing the weapon.

Barnett and others at the T.H.U.G. press conference, such as B.J. Murphy, called for an economic boycott by black people in the city of Charlotte, urging them only to spend their money at black-owned businesses.

“Take your money out of Northlake Mall, out of SouthPark Mall, out of EpiCentre,” Murphy said. “If black lives don’t matter then our dollars don’t either.”

At the end of the press conference, Barnett announced plans for a peaceful rally at Marshall Park at 7 p.m. tonight. There are rumors of other rallies and demonstrations throughout the city that have not yet been confirmed, but Creative Loafing will be following up on each of them. Follow on Twitter at @cl_charlotte.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Today's Top 5: Tuesday

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 at 2:43 PM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Sept. 20, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour with Puff Daddy and more at Time Warner Cable Arena

Crafty Hour at Petra's

Yoga on Tap at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

• Heightened Perspectives I exhibit at UNC-Charlotte Center City

Amos Lee at Ovens Auditorium

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