A man was shot and killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer on Tuesday afternoon, and the police and the victim’s family have dramatically different accounts of what happened.
Protests erupted by nightfall, and Charlotte was again in the national spotlight for a troubling officer-involved shooting.
Here’s what we know for sure: 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, a black man, was shot shortly after 4 p.m. at The Village at College Downs off Old Concord Road while officers were searching for another person with an outstanding warrant.
The shooter was identified as Officer Brentley Vinson, who has been on the force for two years. He is also black, according to media reports.
Beyond that, the stories diverge. No video footage has emerged of the incident. It’s unclear whether Vinson or other officers who responded to the scene were wearing body cameras.
CMPD says a group of officers saw Scott get out of his car carrying a gun, then get back into the car, according to a statement to the media. The officers then approached his car. Scott then got back out of the car with a gun, CMPD says, “and posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers.” He was then shot.
It’s unclear if the officers were in uniform. CMPD does not say that the man pointed a gun at officers. The police department does say detectives recovered a gun from the scene.
Family members of the victim paint a completely different picture. In a Facebook Live video posted from the scene, a woman who identifies herself as Scott’s daughter says Scott was disabled and was holding a book and was not armed. You can watch the video here (warning: language).
A woman identified as Scott’s sister says he would sit in his car in the shade and read a book while waiting for his kids to get off the school bus, according to videos from the scene.
Hundreds of protestors blocked Old Concord Road Tuesday evening and surrounded police cars.
Officers in gear have formed a circle and are surrounded pic.twitter.com/rZ5IBIpYRj
— Ryan Pitkin (@pitkin_ryan) September 21, 2016
Around midnight, Mayor Jennifer Roberts tweeted that “the community deserves answers.”
— Mayor of Charlotte (@CLTMayor) September 21, 2016
Overnight, protestors walked onto I-85, lighting fires in the road and blocking both directions of traffic at Harris Boulevard. See WSOCTV’s minute-by-minute timeline of the protest for more.
Header photo by Adam Rhew/Charlotte Magazine, with permission