US & Canada

Charlotte shooting: Conflicting stories

Keith Lamont Scott (L) and Officer Brently Vinson
Image caption Keith Lamont Scott (L) and Officer Brently Vinson (R)

Two opposing narratives are being told in Charlotte, North Carolina, where 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott was shot to death by police on Tuesday.

Police say that Mr Scott was holding a handgun when he stepped out from his car parked at his apartment building.

Family and witnesses say that he actually held a book, which he was reading while waiting for the school bus to drop off his son.

Police say that they found a gun, but no book, at the shooting scene.

Police have yet to release dashboard or body camera footage of the arrest, saying it will be released "when there is a compelling reason", leading members of the community to question the official account.

However, footage showing the moments leading up to the shooting, filmed by Mr Scott's wife Rakeyia, has now emerged.

What do we know about that day?

Charlotte Police say that they had gone to The Village at College Downs apartments, to execute an arrest warrant for another person when they encountered Mr Scott. They said they observed Mr Scott exit his vehicle while holding a handgun.

Police chief Kerr Putney said that, having watched footage, there was not "absolute definitive visual evidence that would confirm that a person is pointing a gun" but that it did support the version of events depicted by officers, "when taken in the totality of all the other evidence".

Image copyright GoFundMe
Image caption Family say Mr Scott was waiting for his son to return from school when he was shot
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Relatives say Mr Scott was reading a book when shot, but police say he was holding a weapon

Police say Mr Scott refused orders to drop his gun and was shot when he "posed an imminent deadly threat" to officers.

He was then shot by Officer Brently Vinson, who was in plain clothes at the time.

Immediately after the shooting, Mr Scott's daughter posted a Facebook Live video from the scene, in which she angrily accused officers of shooting her father "for being black".

"He got out of his car, he walked back to comply, and all his compliance did was get him murdered," said Taheshia Williams, whose balcony overlooks the car park where Mr Scott was sitting on Tuesday afternoon.

Officers have not said if Mr Scott pointed the gun towards them, but insist that he posed a threat even if he had not.

What does the family's footage show?

Image copyright Rakeyia Scott
Image caption Rakeyia Scott's video of Keith Scott shooting emerged on Friday

In the footage, Rakeyia Scott tells her husband 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.

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."

Ms Scott says: "He doesn't have a gun. He has a TBI [Traumatic Brain Injury]."

She adds: "He just took his medicine."

After shots ring out, she rushes forward shouting: "Did you shoot him? He better not be [expletive] dead!"

Who was Keith Lamont Scott?

Mr Scott's neighbours knew him as a "family man" with seven children.

Several recalled how he would sit in his car in order to be out of the sun while he waited for his son to return from school.

Neighbours said that he had a disability caused by a bicycle accident, which would cause him to have seizures if he was too hot.

Court documents say Mr Scott had a restraining order filed against him on 5 October 2015 after threatening to kill his wife and her son with a gun.

The wife had warned police encountering him that he "carries a 9mm black" gun.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Vigils have been held at the shooting scene

Who is Brently Vinson?

Officer Vinson, 26, grew up in Charlotte and joined the same police force where his father had worked.

His American football coaches said that he dreamed of becoming a federal police officer.

He enrolled in the police academy in July 2014 and was assigned to Charlotte's Metro Division later that year.

He has not previously faced any disciplinary actions, according to police personnel files, and was placed on administrative leave following the shooting.

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