The Charlotte District Attorney’s Office has declined to file any charges against Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Brentley Vinson for his role in the Sept. 20 shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.
Charlotte District Attorney Andrew Murray announced the office’s conclusions on Wednesday, noting that he was “extremely confident” that Vinson’s use of force was “lawful.”
Vinson was one of several officers who approached Scott in a parking lot on the day he was killed. His service weapon was the only weapon fired in the incident, per police. It is not evident that nonlethal methods to subdue Scott were attempted. Four gunshots are discernible in video of the incident taken by Rakeyia Scott, wife of Keith Lamont Scott. She can be heard pleading for her husband’s life on video.
Officers claimed Scott exited his vehicle holding a handgun and failed to put it down, while Rakeyia Scott alleges that her husband was unarmed. Police produced a Colt .380 from the scene that had been reported stolen 18 days before in Gaston County, N.C.
An autopsy confirmed that Scott died of gunshot wounds to the back, wrist and abdomen. He is one of almost 900 Americans killed by police in 2016. A report by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation revealed that Scott had suffered from and sought treatment for “an array of psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, hallucinations and paranoia.”
The shooting and subsequent silence from Charlotte-Mecklenburg police led to two nights of rioting and a week of street demonstrations that produced dozens of arrests and one death. Many of the same officers, including the riot squad, have been activated in anticipation of Charlotte’s reaction to this decision.