Charlotte Police Won’t Release Shooting Video

          
(CN) – Police officials in Charlotte, N.C., refused to buckle under Thursday to mounting pressure to release a video that could show whether the black man shot dead by a city police officer earlier this week had a gun in his hand before he was fired upon.
     During a news conference, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said releasing dashcam and body camera footage of the killing of Keith Lamont Scott could undermine ongoing efforts to get to the bottom of the incident.
     “I’m not going to jeopardize the investigation,” he said.
     When pressed, Putney told reporters the video will be made public when he believes there is a “compelling reason” to do so.
     “You shouldn’t expect it to be released,” Putney added.
     Meanwhile, as evening approached Thursday, the National Guard was deployed around the city in a bid to stave off a third straight night of unrest and confrontations between protesters and police.
     On Wednesday night, a peaceful vigil descended into chaos as rioters attacked reporters and bystanders, set fires and smashed the windows of scores of businesses in the city’s downtown district.
     One protester was shot and remains in critical condition, but city officials said he was not shot by police. Forty-four people were arrested before calm was restored.
     Despite the incidents, city officials said they believe there was no need for a curfew to be imposed on Thursday night. Instead, they are relying on the National Guard, North Carolina state troopers and a team of conflict-resolution specialists from the U.S. Justice Department to maintain order.
     Police said that Scott was shot by a black officer on Tuesday after he disregarded repeated warnings to drop his gun. However, witnesses said he was holding only a book.
     Putney said a gun was found next to the dead man, and that no book was recovered at the scene.
     That’s why the ACLU and community activists believe public disclosure of videos recorded at the time of the shooting are so important.
     Putney said that he has watched the video and it does not contain “absolute, definitive evidence that would confirm that a person was pointing a gun.”
     But, he maintained that when taken “in the totality … of other evidence, it supports what we said.”
     In the meantime, city officials and the NFL are beginning to look to Sunday, when the Carolina Panthers are scheduled to play a home game in Charlotte against the Minnesota Vikings.
     The NFL said Thursday it plans for the game to be played as scheduled, although it will continue to monitor the ongoing violent protests that have gripped Charlotte.
     Panthers president Danny Morrison said in a statement that the team is “in contact with government officials, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the NFL. We are continuing to monitor events as we prepare for Sunday’s home game.”
     Davis isn’t alone in his belief that the game should be played.
     Eight Carolina players questioned and coach Ron Rivera all said they believe the game should go on, although tight end Greg Olsen said his family may be more cautious on Sunday.
     Photo caption:
     Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police chief Police Chief Kerr Putney gestures as he answers a question during a news conference on Sept. 22, 2016. Putney plans to show video of an officer shooting Scott to the slain man’s family, but the video won’t be immediately released to the public. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

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