US & Canada

Police release bodycam footage of Keith Scott shooting

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Media captionDashcam and bodycam footage released by the police.

Police in Charlotte, North Carolina, have released officer bodycam and dashcam footage of a controversial shooting of a black man on Tuesday.

They also released pictures of a handgun and marijuana that police say Keith Lamont Scott possessed.

Calls for the footage to be released had increased in the four days since Mr Scott was shot. His wife released her own video from her phone on Friday.

Mr Scott's family says he was carrying a book and not a gun.

Charlotte police chief Kerr Putney told reporters the victim was "absolutely in possession of a handgun".

The dashcam footage released on Saturday shows Mr Scott getting out of his car and walking backwards with his hands down. It is unclear if there is anything in his hands. Four shots are heard and he falls to the ground.

The bodycam footage shows Mr Scott outside his car with his hands down but does not show the moment of the shooting.

The BBC's Laura Bicker in Washington says it does not clear up the key question of whether Mr Scott had a gun, or if he pointed a gun at police.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police released a photo of a handgun that they say Mr Scott possessed
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police also released a photo of a gun holster they say was Mr Scott's

The lawyer for Mr Scott's family, Justin Bamberg, told reporters that the latest footage only raised more questions about the incident.

He said the video did not show a gun in Mr Scott's hand.

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Media captionJustin Bamberg: "It appears as though he's not aggressively moving towards law enforcement - he is actually doing the opposite"

Speaking at a press conference earlier, Mr Putney released the first specific details from police on a case that has been mired in controversy and uncertainty.

Mr Putney said Mr Scott, 43, was in possession of marijuana and that he had committed another crime, which the police chief would not elaborate on.

He said that the officers who confronted Mr Scott were conducting surveillance when they spotted marijuana in the victim's car, and subsequently saw a gun.

In a video released on Friday, filmed by Mr Scott's wife, she can be heard telling officers repeatedly that he does not have a weapon.

Mr Putney said that the bodycam footage contained "no definitive visual evidence that he [Mr Scott] had a gun and pointed it at officers", but that police were satisfied he did.

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Media captionWife's video of Charlotte police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. This video has distressing scenes and strong language.

Two videos have been made public, one filmed by an officer's bodycam and another by a patrol vehicle dashcam.

Mr Putney said that the officer who shot Mr Scott was not wearing a bodycam, because not all Charlotte police tactical teams wore them.

The officer who fatally shot the father of seven was identified as Brently Vinson, who is also African-American.

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

Quizzed about claims that police were not at the location because of Mr Scott, and encountered him randomly, Mr Putney said: "They were intentionally detaining this man. It was to take this man off the streets."

He said that that police would release DNA evidence as well as the footage.

Asked whether any officers would be charged, he said: "No officers are being charged by me at this point, but there is another investigation underway".

The shooting is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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.

Mr Scott's family claim that he suffered from a brain injury brought on by a motorbike accident.

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