Charlotte police officer who fatally shot Keith Scott will not be charged with a crime
On Wednesday, prosecutors told the victim’s family that the Charlotte police officer who killed Keith Scott will not be charged with a crime. The family’s attorneys announced the news and District Attorney Andrew Murray confirmed it in a news conference. Scott, 43, was shot Sept. 20 outside his apartment. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer Brentley Vinson had four bullets missing from his gun, while the guns belonging to the other officers present hadn’t been fired, The Charlotte Observer reports.
The black man’s death sparked protests from Black Lives Matter activists, adding to the growing number of black men killed by the police this year. The police claimed he stepped out of his car with a weapon in his hand and refused to drop it, leading them to approach and ultimately shoot him. In North Carolina, it’s legal for legitimate gun owners to carry weapons in public and in vehicles, but District Attorney Murray said no charges will be brought because there was evidence suggesting Scott did step out of his car holding a gun and ignored demands to drop it.
Murray said Scott obtained the gun 18 days before his death and that it had previously been stolen. He said there was one bullet in the chamber of the gun, the safety was off, and Scott’s DNA was on the grip and ammunition slide.
Scott’s family argued at the time of his death that he had been sitting in his car reading a book while waiting for his son to get home from school, but the district attorney doesn’t believe that was the case, as a book wasn’t found in his SUV.
After Scott’s death, a young black girl addressed the Charlotte City Council about how police brutality against people of color affects their community. “It’s a shame that [black] fathers and mothers are killed and we can’t see them anymore,” she said through tears. She added, “We are black people, and we shouldn’t have to feel like this. We shouldn’t have to protest because y’all are treating us wrong. We do this because we need to, and we have rights.”
According to data compiled by Mapping Police Violence, at least 263 black people have been killed by the police so far in 2016, and it’s extremely rare for police officers to be convicted for these deaths. It’s unclear what further actions the Scott family’s lawyers will take, but it’s unlikely anyone will go to trial after the district attorney’s conclusion.