US & Canada

Charlotte police chief: Video does not 'definitively' show pointed gun

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Media captionGary O'Donoghue reports on the state of emergency declared in Charlotte

A North Carolina police chief says video of a fatal officer shooting does not provide "definitive" evidence the black man who died was pointing a gun.

But Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said the "totality of all of the other evidence" supports the police version of events.

Chief Putney said the video would be shown to Keith Lamont Scott's family, but not to the public at this time.

Mr Scott, 43, was shot dead by a black officer on Tuesday, sparking protests.

North Carolina's governor declared a state of emergency in Charlotte late on Wednesday after a second consecutive night of violence led to 44 arrests.

"The video doesn't give me absolute, definitive, visual evidence that would confirm that a person is pointing a gun," Chief Putney told a news conference.

"I didn't see that in the video that I reviewed."

But he said all of the evidence together backs up "the version of the truth that we gave about the circumstances that happened that led to the death of Mr Scott".

Officers say he was repeatedly told to drop his handgun before he was shot, but his family say he was reading a book as he waited for his son to be dropped off by the school bus.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police used tear gas and stun grenades

The police chief said the video would be released to the public "when we believe there is a compelling reason".

Charlotte District Attorney Andrew R Murray also said he planned to make a request for a state investigation into the shooting at the request of Mr Scott's family.

Ten protesters were injured in Wednesday's unrest, including a civilian who remains in critical condition after suffering a gunshot wound, according to Chief Putney.

Five officers also required medical care, including two for minor eye injuries, he added.


At the scene - Gary O'Donoghue, BBC News, Charlotte

Walking the streets in daylight, and there is little significant evidence of last night's violence. On East Trade Street, there is glass from shattered windows at a gift shop and a CVS pharmacy, but much of the debris had been cleared overnight.

Several banks in the city suggested their employees stayed away from work today, but the mayor, Jennifer Roberts, insisted that Charlotte was open for business.

But now, in the hours before darkness, the city waits to see whether the ugly scenes of the past two nights are to be repeated.

Key in the attempts to reduce tension will be the reaction of the Scott family to the police video of Tuesday's killing. They have been promised sight of that and if it were to soften their insistence that Mr. Scott did not have a gun, then passions could subside.

Meanwhile, the residents of Charlotte will soon see hundreds of national guard personnel in this city, a sign that the authorities are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.


North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory deployed the National Guard as rioters clashed with police, breaking windows and setting small fires.

Riot police fired flash grenades and tear gas as they faced hundreds of protesters.

Several journalists were attacked by the crowd. A reporter and cameraman for Charlotte's WCNC-TV were taken to hospital and a CNN journalist was tackled on live TV.

Rakeyia Scott, the wife of Mr Scott, issued a statement on Thursday called for peaceful protest.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The protest began peacefully but turned violent afterwards
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Media caption"We are better than this," says mayor of Charlotte, Jennifer Roberts

Mr Scott - who was killed at a block of flats in disputed circumstances - was the third black male killed by US police in the last week.

Police were serving an arrest warrant on another person when they say they saw Mr Scott get out of a car with a handgun.

It is legal to openly carry a handgun in North Carolina, but a special permit is required to carry a concealed weapon.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has called for the release of the video.

"In these days of ready video and audio recordings, we believe that reviewing these recordings can and will help both sides get to the truth," it said in a statement.

Image caption Keith Lamont Scott (L) was shot by Officer Brentley Vinson (R)
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Five police officers required medical care after the latest protests
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Relatives say Mr Scott was reading a book when shot, but police say he was holding a weapon
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Journalists were attacked by some protesters in Charlotte on Wednesday night

Three fatal police shootings in last week

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Media caption'Police didn't give my brother a chance' - Tulsa victim's sister
  • A boy, 13, shot dead in Ohio after allegedly pulling an air gun from his waistband during arrest
  • An unarmed, stranded motorist, Terence Crutcher, was killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Keith Lamont Scott shot in Charlotte and died in hospital

Ohio police kill boy 'who drew BB gun'

Tulsa shooting: The unanswered questions

Trump 'troubled' by Tulsa police shooting


Charlotte: Facts

  • A major banking and financial centre in the American South, with a population of 827,000
  • The city's population is about 35% black, compared to 13.3% across the US
  • Police chief Kerr Putney is African-American
  • A white police officer was charged with voluntary manslaughter in 2013 for shooting an unarmed black man reportedly looking for help after a car crash. The charge was dropped last year after a jury could not reach a decision. The case sparked protests but no violence.

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