Do you think protesters will say the police planted the evidence? Or do you think they will back off now? Either way, they should have waited to protest until they heard the evidence.
Dozens of armed National Guardsmen took up positions on street corners in Charlotte, North Carolina on Friday after the family of a black man fatally shot by police released its own video of the encounter that has sparked three days of sometimes violent protests.
Few people were on the streets as the sun began to set and crowds were sparse in bars and restaurants in the Uptown section of the city. Some people heading home after work stopped to chat with Guardsmen.
The family of shooting victim Keith Scott continued to urge officials to release their own recordings of the slaying as they called for peace in Charlotte.
The moment when a black police officer shoots Scott, a 43-year-old father of seven, cannot be seen in the two-minute video recorded by his wife, Rakeyia, who can be heard urging officers not to fire.
“Don’t shoot him! He has no weapon,” she can be heard telling officers as they yell at Scott, “Drop the gun!”
Several gunshots can be heard in the video, which was released to U.S. media, followed by her screaming, “Did you shoot him? He better not be dead.”
The video was filmed from a nearby curb as the drama in the parking lot unfolded in front of Rakeyia Scott.
CNN quoted a source close to the investigation as saying that a loaded gun had been recovered at the scene of the crime and that fingerprints, DNA and blood on it matched Scott’s.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Protesters have dismissed police officers’ claims that Scott had a gun. Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts on Friday also called for release of the police videos, in an interview with CNN. “I do think it would help in terms of transparency to release that footage,” she said.
Scott’s death was the latest in a succession of police killings of black people, mostly men, which have unleashed protests and riots across the country and intense criticism of the use of excessive force by police.
A United Nations working group on Friday compared the killings to the lynching of black people by white mobs in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Scott was the 214th black person killed by U.S. police this year out of an overall total of 821, according to Mapping Police Violence, a research group whose members include protesters of a 2014 police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. There is no national-level government data on police shootings.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney has said that video taken by police body cameras supported the police version of events, but he has refused to release the video publicly. He told reporters on Friday that releasing it now could harm the investigation into the shooting, being led by the state.