Nearly a week after Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) officer identified as Brentley Vinson, activists continue to demand justice. Out of the protests—which continued through the weekend—a new coalition of organizers and community members has come together to advocate for “police accountability, transparency and social and economic equity,” per the group’s website.
Marcus Bass, an organizer with Charlotte Uprising, explained the need for advocacy in a statement:
The lives of Black people are infinitely more valuable than material things like windows, cars or property. Police in this city are more concerned with prosecuting vandalism than they are with the shooting death of another Black person. The mayor and the governor of this state are spending time and countless resources protecting the business district and the city’s money-making institutions, but continue to ignore the needs and the demands of the communities they swore and were elected to serve. We will no longer stand for the routine murders of Black people by an unaccountable system of policing. While the right to own a gun is valued as a cornerstone of American citizenship, the right of Black people to live through a police encounter is not equally valued.
On Friday (September 23), the group issued a set of demands via its website, which also contains a solidarity petition and information for those who want to financially support the movement and help bail out protesters.
- The immediate end to the state of emergency, curfew and the removal of the National Guard.
- The immediate demilitarization of the police department and the immediate return of all military equipment.
- The defunding of the police department (2017 budget: $246,644,617) and the redirection of those resources to the needs of our communities (including resources for jobs programs, affordable quality housing, transportation, holistic health and quality schools).
- An independent investigation into the killing of Keith L. Scott and an investigation into the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department by the Department of Justice and a freeze on the nearly $1.5 million awarded in federal grants annually to the department.
- A release of the police report and body camera footage connected with the killing of Keith L. Scott and all other killings to the public and immediate repeal of HB 972, which restricts the ability of the public to access police camera footage.
- The immediate and unconditional release of all those arrested in connection with the uprising resulting from the killing of Keith L. Scott and the dropping of all charges.
- The release of all the names of the officers involved in the killing of Keith L. Scott to the public followed by their firing, arrest and prosecution.
- Reparations for the family of Keith L. Scott and all victims of police violence, as well as the families who those who have been killed.
- Community control of the police, starting with the creation of a civilian oversight board that has the power to hire and fire officers, determine disciplinary actions, as all as dictate police policies, priorities and budges. The board shall not include police representation and will be controlled by communities most impacted by policing and incarceration in Charlotte.
- An end to the repression and targeting of protestors and all those engaged in the Charlotte Uprising.
None of the demands have been met to date, though one was partially satisfied. On Saturday (September 24), CMPD released partial body and dashcam video of Scott’s shooting death. It came a day after Scott’s wife, Rakeyia Scott, published her cell phone video of the events surrounding the shooting. The videos appear below.
The footage was accompanied by the department’s account of events that led to Officer Vinson killing Scott. The statement explained that the account and footage were released—despite Chief Kerr Putney’s insistence that he would not make the video available to the public—in response to “unconfirmed reports published in the media concerning this case.” Notably, the inciting incident in the account—in which officers say they observed Scott preparing to smoke marijuana in his car—differs from the previous account, which began with Scott exiting his vehicle with a firearm.
Per the statement: “The dashcam footage is from the time in which the officer operating the car with the dashcam video arrives on the scene until officers began rendering first aid to Mr. Scott.”
Body Camera Video
Per the statement: “The body worn camera illustrates the footage from the moment it was turned on until officers began rendering first aid to Mr. Scott.”
During the press conference below (courtesy of NBC News) Scott’s family says the partial videos raise more questions than they answer: