Dedicated to disseminating news & information not found in mainstream media....
Charlotte is on fire. And Black people are in pain yet again as the news of Keith Lamont Scott’s killing hit less
than 24 hours after news outlets plastered the video of Terence Crutcher’s murder on tv screens across the country.1
According to his family, Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old disabled man, was sitting in his car reading a book and waiting to pick his son up from school when he was shot and killed by Charlotte police. Yes, a book. They say he didn’t have a gun. And in a live video immediately after the incident, Keith’s daughter yelled at investigators not to plant a gun in his car. “Because that’s what the f**k y’all do,” she said.2
Charlotte police had no regard for Keith's life and are telling a completely different tale of events leading to Keith’s killing. But a new North Carolina law could mean the public will never see the body cam footage.
North Carolina just passed a law, HB 972, that prohibits body and dash cam footage from being released to the public.3 And while the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief, Kerr Putney, has the authority to release the footage of Keith Lamont Scott’s death before the law goes into effect in October--he won’t. But the good news is that the Department of Justice has the authority to push them to do the right thing, and hit Charlotte police where it hurts--their pockets. Soon, the Justice Department will be announcing winners of their federal grant programs. If the DOJ refuses to award any new grants to North Carolina while this law is in place, they could force the state to reverse it. Will you sign the petition?
Police rolled up on Keith in plain clothes and were attempting to serve an arrest warrant for someone else. They had the wrong person. But in step with the dangerous police culture of hyper-violence and a “shoot first” mentality, Charlotte police acted in complete disregard for his life, shot and killed him. Now his children are without a father and a family is seeking answers--but Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are refusing to release the footage that could provide some.
Too often police have been caught lying. And the cases of Walter Scott, Terence Crutcher, Tamir Rice. Sandra Bland, LaQuan McDonald, and Sam Dubose show us the importance of having access to the video footage.4 North Carolina launched its universal body-cam program last year--yet they’ve barely gotten any good use out of it. Since May, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have shot and killed four people--and body cameras were turned on in only one.5 Still, lawmakers passed HB 972, a law that would prohibit the public from ever seeing body cam footage, unless they obtained a court order. It’s a slap in the face to any calls for transparency and accountability and defeats the entire purpose of even having body-cameras.
But even if local officials won’t use their power to release the video footage, the Department of Justice can. When North Carolina lawmakers passed a terribly transphobic law, HB 2, that allowed discrimination against transgender folks, the Justice Department threatened to sue the state--and even got them to back down from a counter-lawsuit.6 On Wednesday, Attorney General Lynch gave a speech noting the “sorrow, anger and uncertainty” people are feeling right now after dealing with the trauma of Black people being killed again, and again, and again.7 But the best way her office can assure accountability and transparency in Keith Lamont Scott’s murder is to take action against North Carolina’s terrible blue wall of silence. Keith’s family deserves justice and full transparency.
Until justice is real,
Arisha, Rashad, Scott, Clarise, Anay, and the rest of the Color Of Change team