Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News World

Charlotte city council slammed over police shooting reaction

Published 27/09/2016

Members of the public pay their respects at a memorial to Keith Scott after he was shot dead by police (AP)
Members of the public pay their respects at a memorial to Keith Scott after he was shot dead by police (AP)

Angry Charlotte residents have criticised city council members over what they called "unaccountable" police and civilian leaders who have failed to bring about change one week on from the fatal shooting of a black man by an officer.

The council opened the floor to dozens of residents who voiced their opinions about the shooting of Kevin Lamont Scott by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police in the North Carolina city last week.

Many called on mayor Jennifer Roberts, police chief Kerr Putney and other council members to resign on the seventh day of protests since the shooting on September 20.

"It's going to be rough in these streets until you give justice to our people," said the Rev Milton Williams, the final speaker in a three-hour session.

"Our city's in an uproar, and you did not respond."

Several speakers carried signs expressing their anger.

Many called for the repeal of legislation taking effect on Saturday which blocked the release of police video of the shooting without a court order. Others demanded the release of all police video footage of the confrontation.

Mr Scott's family and advocacy groups say the department divulged only about three minutes of footage from two cameras. They have urged the police department to release all other video footage it possesses, as well as audio recordings of communications that could clarify how the situation unfolded. A media coalition is also requesting more footage.

Khasha Harris told city council members: "We have no reason to trust you, and you're giving us even less."

Council member Kenny Smith said the authority should be listening and taking action to answer the concerns.

"The unrest here has been decades in the making," council member Al Alston said. "Tuesday was the boiling point, and it's getting hotter."

The footage released so far of Mr Scott's shooting left questions in many people's minds - including whether he was holding a gun, as police have stated. Mr Scott's family said he did not have a weapon.

The footage includes body camera video from one officer, but not the black officer who fatally wounded Mr Scott.

The gun recovered at the scene of the shooting had been stolen and later sold to Mr Scott, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police source said, though there was no official confirmation of this.

At a rally at a city centre church, North Carolina civil rights leader the Rev William Barber said federal authorities should investigate the city's police department.

Police officers who fail to operate their body cameras during an encounter should be prosecuted, the Rev Barber added.

Six people have been fatally shot since body cameras were given to all patrol officers about a year ago. But the officers who fired the fatal shots in five of those cases - including Mr Scott's - were not using the cameras.

Charlotte police did not respond to requests for information about those cases.


Read More

From Belfast Telegraph