Police say 43-year-old father Keith Lamont Scott was holding a firearm and ignored “loud, clear verbal commands.” The Scott family says he wasn’t armed.
A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old black father, Tuesday evening. The killing sparked a backlash and mass protests; law enforcement authorities are now claiming that they followed proper protocol and issued “loud, clear, verbal commands” to Scott before opening fire.
Officials also say that Scott was armed with a handgun; however, there’s been no confirmation that Scott aimed his firearm at first responders, according to a report by TheRoot.com.
At a press conference Wednesday, Chief of Police Kerr Putney gave the official police account, ABC News reports.
Here, Putney defended the actions of officers, stating:
“The officers gave loud, clear, verbal commands which were also heard by many of the witnesses. Mr. Scott exited his vehicle armed with a handgun as the officers continued to yell at him to drop it.”
Putney conceded that he’s unclear about the exact position of the gun that was found on the scene after the altercation. Nonetheless, he insists that the details of the incident have been distorted by social media:
“I don’t know that he definitively pointed the weapon specifically towards an officer. I can tell you from the facts that the story is a little bit different as to how it’s been portrayed so far, especially through social media.”
The Scott family refutes the police version of the encounter, telling reporters that Scott was not armed and was reading a book while waiting for his son to be dropped off from school.
Still, even if it were the case that Scott was armed, we are still left to make sense of the fact of white suspects, like Walter Bruce Ray, often survive encounters with police officers — even after repeatedly discharging their weapon at them.