October 22, 2016

‘Don’t shoot him’ – Charlotte shooting video emerges

A frame grab from a video taken by Rakeyia Scott showing the moments after her husband Keith Scott was shot. Photo: Rakeyia Scott / Curry Law Firm / AFP

The moment North Carolina police shot a black man was captured on video by his wife, who can be heard pleading with officers: “Don’t shoot him!”

In the footage, Rakeyia Scott tells husband Keith Scott to get out of his car as Charlotte police surround him.

The clip does not show the actual shooting, or make clear if Mr Scott was carrying a gun, as police say.

The video, which has distressing scenes and strong language, is on the BBC’s website.

Charlotte city leaders have been under mounting pressure to release their footage of this week’s shooting.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton joined the chorus, adding: “We must ensure justice and work to bridge divides.”

Mr Scott was the 214th black person killed by US police this year out of a total of 821, according to monitoring site Mapping Police Violence.

In the clip, an officer is heard shouting: “Hands up!”

Mrs Scott cries: “Don’t shoot him. Don’t shoot him. He has no weapon. He has no weapon. Don’t shoot him.”

An officer says: “Don’t shoot. Drop the gun. Drop the [expletive] gun.”

Mrs Scott says: “He doesn’t have a gun. He has a TBI [Traumatic Brain Injury]. He just took his medicine.”

Family lawyers have previously said Mr Scott suffered head trauma in a car accident last year.

Seconds later shots ring out in the clip, and Mrs Scott rushes forward shouting: “Did you shoot him? He better not be [expletive] dead!”

There are conflicting accounts of his death – police say he was armed and that a pistol was recovered at the scene; his family says he was holding a book.

Mr Scott’s mother, Vernita Scott Walker, told South Carolina broadcaster WCSC he was probably reading the Koran.

She said he read the Islamic holy book every day, often while waiting for his son to get off the bus.

“That’s what he was reading because he loved to read that book,” said Ms Scott Walker.

At a press conference on Friday, officials defended their refusal to release body-cam and dash-cam video of the shooting.

Mr Scott – a 43-year-old father-of-seven – was fatally shot in an apartment complex car park on Tuesday by police who were searching for another person wanted for arrest.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts told reporters: “I do believe the video should be released – the question is on the timing.”

She said the video was “inconclusive” as to whether Mr Scott was holding a gun.

City Police Chief Kerr Putney said the video alone does not provide sufficient evidence of probable cause for the shooting.

Releasing it without “context” could only inflame the situation, he added.

Critics have accused Charlotte authorities of a lack of transparency, compared with the swift action taken after a police shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a white officer has been charged.

The killing has sparked three nights of protests and led North Carolina’s governor to declare a state of emergency in Charlotte.

Demonstrators in the city defied a midnight curfew early on Friday, taking to the city streets for a third straight night.

Security forces took a hands-off approach and the demonstration was much calmer than the previous two nights, when rioters looted businesses and threw objects at police.

Several hundred National Guard troops were deployed to keep order, a day after North Carolina’s governor declared a state of emergency in Charlotte.

Meanwhile, police said they arrested a suspect in Wednesday’s fatal shooting of a protester, Justin Carr, in Charlotte.

The alleged gunman was identified as Rayquan Borum.

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