The police department of Charlotte, North Carolina, has bowed to the new standard for video footage of police violence. If a member of the force shoots and kills a civilian, public scrutiny now gives law enforcement almost no choice but to release it.
The police announced on Saturday that it would release footage of both a body camera and dashboard camera of the moments when Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old African-American man, was shot and killed on Sept. 20. Scott’s death set off protests in Charlotte and put mounting pressure on the police to release the footage.
Charlotte police chief Kerr Putney told reporters the footage could be released as early as Saturday (Sept. 24) evening. While it was not clear whether the videos would answer the question of whether Scott had a gun, Putney told reporters Saturday that Scott was ”absolutely in possession of a handgun.” Scott’s family has said that Scott was holding a book, not a gun. A separate video recording, taken by Scott’s wife on her cell phone in the run-up to and aftermath of the shooting, did not provide a definitive answer to the dispute.