No charges will be filed in the death of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott on Sept. 20. District Attorney Andrew Murray made the announcement Wednesday.
The black officer, Brent Vinson, who was identified by authorities as the shooter, has been on administrative leave Keith Lamont Scott was shot in a parking lot while waiting for his child’s school bus.
“It is my opinion that Officer Vinson acted lawfully when he shot Mr. Scott,” Murray said. “His use of deadly force was lawful.”
It was a predictable conclusion to a disturbing case, where the gun Scott seemed to have had in his possession appeared to have been placed in its final resting place sometime after actual shooting. In addition, video suggested that Scott was shot from an officer somewhere in front and to the right of him. Vinson appeared on the scene from a direction that would have been Scott’s left. Witnesses say Vinson was not the actual shooter.
The troubling questions have not been publicly addressed by authorities, with the standard refrain “the officers feared for their lives” given instead.
Murray showed video of Scott entering a convenience store shortly before the shooting, in which Scott appears to be wearing an ankle holster and gun. That same ankle holster seems to be visible in two clips of video of the actual scene– one of those being the view of Scott lying on the ground as the ‘first responders’ approached his body.
The location of the gun is important because Chief Putney acknowledged back in September that there was “no definitive, visual evidence” that Scott had a gun in his hand. “You see something in the hand and that he pointed it at an officer,” Putney said. The department has said officers perceived Scott’s movements as posing an imminent threat.
If Scott in fact had a gun in his hands when he fell, it would have either fallen to the ground and been where it fell when the first officers approached the dying man’s body. If he had managed to keep a grip on the gun, it would have been in his hand, or underneath him. Neither of these scenarios is supported by the available video evidence.