Review Board Finds ‘Substantial Error’ In Police Decision That the Cop Killing of Keith Lamont Scott Was Justified
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A review board Tuesday found “substantial evidence of error” in a North Carolina police department’s decision that the fatal shooting of a Black man by an officer last year was justified and scheduled another hearing on the matter in August.
Julian Wright, an attorney representing the Citizens Review Board for the city of Charlotte, announced that the panel voted 8-2 to take another look at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s conclusion in the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott.
Wright said the board will gather more information at the evidentiary hearing scheduled for Aug. 8, including testimony from officers and other witnesses. Should the board conclude that there was an error, Wright said, the panel would write a recommendation to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney saying, “We believe that your determination that the shooting was justified is not correct and we recommend that you change it.”
Wright said the board could also determine that the shooting was justified. He didn’t elaborate on what details led the board to its vote.
The decision came after presentations from the police department and attorneys for the Scott family at a hearing that lasted nearly five hours.
“The work of the Citizens Review Board is crucial in ensuring transparency, fairness and accountability,” city spokeswoman Sandy D’Elosua Vastola said in a statement. She said the city respects the board’s decision.
Scott family lawyers weren’t available for immediate comment.
Scott was killed on Sept. 20, leading to two days of unrest that ended with one death, dozens of arrests and millions of dollars of damage.
In announcing last November that no charges would be filed against Officer Brentley Vinson, Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray said Scott was armed with a handgun and Vinson feared Scott would shoot. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police in March also said his use of deadly force was justified.
The shooting happened after plainclothes officers went to the complex looking for a suspect with an outstanding warrant when two undercover officers saw Scott — not the suspect they were looking for — inside a car with a gun and marijuana, Murray said in November.
Scott’s wife had told reporters and investigators her husband had no gun. But in August, the couple had argued on text messages about the weapon.