Prosecutor: No charges filed against officer in Keith Scott death

Prosecutor: No charges filed against officer in Keith Scott death

- No charges will be filed against the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer who shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott, according to officials.

Mecklenburg County District Attorney R. Andrew Murray said during a press conference Wednesday morning that Officer Brently Vinson "acted lawfully" in using deadly force against Scott.

Vinson, who also is black, shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott on Sept. 20. 
 
Scott was sitting in his vehicle at an apartment complex when he was confronted by police. Police video showed officers shouting for Scott to drop a gun numerous times. Scott's family has said he was not armed. 
 
However, Murray displayed a nearby store's surveillance video showing the outline of what appeared to be a holstered gun on Scott's ankle, and he discussed other evidence that Scott was armed.
 
During the news conference, officials presented additional evidence, including DNA on the weapon and details about the sale of the gun and ammo. 
 
Murray also quoted from a Facebook chat, in which a man discussed selling a gun to Keith Scott.
   
Murray says the person said in the Facebook chat that he felt responsibility for Scott's Sept. 20 death, and that he was concerned he would be criminally charged. Murray couldn't comment on whether that person would be charged.
 
Murray also says that Scott's DNA was found on the slide and grip of a handgun recovered from the scene. Murray said the gun was cocked, its safety was off and it had a round in its chamber.
 
Authorities found a receipt for an ammunition purchase matching a debit card that was in Scott's wallet.

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Mecklenburg County DA announces no charges filed against officer:

Full report from Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office

The City of Charlotte released the following statement in response to the decision:

“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers remain with the families of Mr. Keith Lamont Scott and CMPD Officer Brentley Vinson during these difficult times. Today, the District Attorney’s Office announced its decision not to charge Officer Vinson, who was involved in the shooting of Mr. Scott, after reviewing the results from the State Bureau of Investigation’s (SBI) review.

We recognize that for some members of our community, this news will be met with different reactions. No matter where you stand on the issue, the events surrounding the Scott shooting have forever changed our community, and we intend to learn from and build a stronger Charlotte because of it. The city is committed to continuing its work with the community to preserve safety, trust and accountability.”

An attorney for the Keith Lamont Scott family spoke with FOX 46 Charlotte about whether charges will be filed on Wednesday against the officer who pulled the trigger. 

Family and attorneys for Keith Scott speak after decision no to charge officer:

Following the announcement, attorneys for Keith Scott's family encouraged people to "express their feelings without violence" and to "protest peacefully and be respectful."

Charles Monnett, one of the attorney's representing the family, noted that there are different standards for criminal charges than for civil liability. The lawyers said they haven't yet decided whether to pursue civil action.
 
Monnett did commend Charlotte's prosecutor for meeting with the family and explaining his decision not to pursue charges against the officer who shot Scott.
 
Another family attorney, Justin Bamberg, said the prosecutor's decision against criminal charges doesn't mean the shooting was right.  

Members of Scott's family did not speak.

Since September 20, the City of Charlotte has gone through ups and downs. This after CMPD Officer Brentley Vinson shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott - an act Police Chief Kerr Putney said was in self defense. 

RELATED: Source: Decision on charges in Keith Scott case expected Wednesday

After the shooting, the community engaged in protests and one night of riots. 

The prosecutor in Mecklenburg County is expected to decide whether charges will be filed and that decision is now only a matter of hours away. 

Monnett and the DA are meeting at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday. District Attorney Andrew Murray will host a press conference at 10:30 a.m. 

Body camera, dash camera footage and police radio traffic released by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police in September provided new insight into the deadly police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.

In the body camera footage, armed officers can be seen surrounding the vehicle. The video shows at least three police officers dressed in civilian clothing, but wearing bullet proof vests that clearly identify them as police.

There is no audio for the first 25 seconds. The shots that are fired cannot be heard.

When audio begins, officers can be heard calling for handcuffs as Scott is on the ground. He can be heard moaning as officers try to treat him.

"Get some gloves, we need to hold the wound," one of the officers can be heard saying."

The video then ends.

RELATED: 911 call, police radio traffic released in Keith Lamont Scott shooting

The chief went on to say that the video shows no definitive visual evidence that Scott had a gun in his hand, however he said other evidence from the scene proves it.

"Officers are absolutely not being charged by me at this point, [Scott] was absolutely in possession of a handgun."

The State Buruea of Investigation has given their assurance that the release of the videos will not impact their investigation, the chief said.

It's unclear from the footage whether Scott was in possession of a gun, however physical and DNA evidence released by police do indicate that Scott was armed.

Investigators said a lab analysis conducted of the gun recovered at the scene revealed the presence of Scott’s DNA and his fingerprints on the gun. Investigators also found that the gun Scott possessed was loaded at the time of the encounter with the officers.

Scott was wearing an ankle holster at the time of the event, police said.

According to the chief, two plain clothes officers were sitting inside of their unmarked police vehicle preparing to serve an arrest warrant in the parking lot of The Village at College Downs, when a white SUV pulled in and parked beside of them.The officers observed the driver, later identified as Mr. Keith Lamont Scott, rolling what they believed to be a marijuana “blunt.” Officers did not consider Mr. Scott’s drug activity to be a priority at the time and they resumed the warrant operation. A short time later, Officer Vinson observed Mr. Scott hold a gun up.

Due to the combination of illegal drugs and the gun Mr. Scott had in his possession, officers decided to take enforcement action for public safety concerns, according to police. Officers left the area to outfit themselves with marked duty vests and equipment that would clearly identify them as police officers, police said.

Upon returning, the officers told investigators that they again witnessed Mr. Scott in possession of a gun. The officers said they immediately identified themselves as police officers and gave clear, loud and repeated verbal commands to drop the gun. Scott refused to follow the officers repeated verbal commands.

A uniformed officer in a marked patrol vehicle arrived to assist the officers.  According to investigators, the uniformed officer utilized his baton to attempt to breach the front passenger window in an effort to arrest Scott.

Police said Scott then exited the vehicle with the gun and backed away from the vehicle while continuing to ignore officers’ repeated loud verbal commands to drop the gun. Officer Vinson perceived Mr. Scott’s actions and movements as an imminent physical threat to himself and the other officers. Officer Vinson fired his issued service weapon, striking Mr. Scott.  Officers immediately rendered first aid and requested Medic to respond to the scene.

Homicide Unit Detectives interviewed multiple independent civilian witnesses at the scene and at police headquarters. According to investigators, those witnesses confirmed that officers gave numerous loud verbal commands for Mr. Scott to drop the weapon and also confirmed that at no time did Mr. Scott comply with their commands.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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