By Sarah Lazare
Defying mounting calls for transparency, Charlotte, North Carolina, police are refusing to publicly release dash-camera footage showing their officer’s killing of Keith Lamont Scott, as city officials maintain tight control over the media narrative surrounding ongoing protests.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney told reporters on Thursday that, despite demands from the ACLU and NAACP, he will not release footage of Officer Brentley Vinson’s deadly shooting of Scott, proclaiming he will do so “when there is a compelling reason.” Because Putney claims Vinson was not wearing a body camera at the time of the killing, his withholding of the video constitutes a significant media blackout. The police chief said he will share the footage with Scott’s family, but did not provide a precise timeline.
Tamika Lewis, an organizer with the Charlotte-based organizations the Tribe and the Trans and Queer People of Color Collective, told AlterNet that there is “compelling reason” to make the evidence public. “I think their jobs, their duties and their oaths to ‘protect and serve’ should be compelling reason, as well as the people demanding its release and paying respects to the family,” said Lewis. “I think this shows the lack of transparency and how they are more concerned with protecting the police image than serving and protecting the folks of Charlotte.”