Authorities won't issue video of police killing of North Carolina man

Video material showing the killing of an African-American man by police will not be released, authorities said in Charlotte, North Carolina, after a second night of civil unrest amid conflicting accounts of whether the suspect was armed.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said Thursday that the video is evidence in an investigation and will not be made public.

He said that the family of Keith Lamont Scott, 43, who died shortly after being shot Tuesday afternoon, would be shown the video.

"They made a request to see it, and we're looking to accommodate that request," Putney said.

Meanwhile, authorities decided against imposing a curfew after a second night of violence since the shooting, which led North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to declare a state of emergency.

Justin Bamberg, an attorney for Scott's family, said relatives were expecting later Thursday to see video that shows "some" of the shooting incident.

"The family wants answers," he said. "The family deserves answers."

Scott was married 20 years and had seven children, and his wife saw the shooting, Bamberg said.

He said different witnesses have said that Scott was holding a book, and others that he was empty-handed, while police allege the suspect had a gun.

"We don't know what's on the video," Bamberg said. "We know what law enforcements says is on the video."

The Tuesday shooting was followed by night-time demonstrations that turned violent, with 16 police injured and one person initially arrested.

More rioting broke out overnight Wednesday, with significant vandalism and looting in central Charlotte. Five police officers and seven civilians were injured on the second night, including one person fatally wounded in what authorities described as "civilian-on-civilian" gunfire.

The 26-year-old victim, who had been on life support after initially surviving his wounds, died late Thursday, the Charlotte Observer reported.

Putney cited allegations that a police officer might have been involved in the Wednesday night shooting, and said investigators were reviewing video of the demonstrations.

Bamberg said the family is urging demonstrators to remain peaceful: "We want you to voice your opinions, but we don't want you to destroy the community that you live in."

Police say Scott was holding a handgun when confronted by police and ignored orders to drop the weapon.

Putney said a handgun was taken into evidence at the shooting scene near Scott's body, and that witnesses corroborated that officers shouted for the suspect to drop a weapon.

The officer, himself African-American, who shot Scott was a two-year veteran of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. He was in plain clothes and wearing a marked police vest but no body camera. Three uniformed officers present at the shooting were wearing body cameras, and police cars had dashboard cameras.

Putney, also African-American, said that available video he has seen does not capture enough of the shooting to definitively show that Scott pointed his gun at police, but "in the totality of all the other evidence" supports the account of the officers on the scene.

The US Justice Department is examining Scott's death, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday.

Ahead of the November 8 national elections in the United States, police shootings have become a political issue.

"Our country looks bad to the world. How can we lead when we can't control our cities?" presidential candidate Donald Trump asked Thursday at a campaign rally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Trump, the nominee of the conservative Republican Party, has touted himself as tough on crime and frequently lauds the work of the police. He described recurring police shootings and resulting civil unrest as a "national crisis" and vowed to work with local officials to "save African-American lives" and reduce crime.

"We need a national anti-crime agenda to make our country safe," he said.

In Washington, the Congressional Black Caucus rallied on Capitol Hill to call for more federal action against local police abuses. Congressman John Conyers urged the US Justice Department to "investigate and sue more police departments" to address racial profiling and excessive force.

"We need more action now," he said.

Last update: Fri, 23/09/2016 - 01:46
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