The Charlotte police officer that shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott will not be charged, according to the district attorney. After an extensive review, a panel of 15 career prosecutors unanimously decided not to charge Officer Brentley Vinson, who they say acted lawfully (via NBC News):
An officer who fatally shot a black man in North Carolina in September, prompting days of violent protests, will not be charged in his death, a prosecutor announced Wednesday.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Brentley Vinson, who is also black, shot Keith Lamont Scott, 43, in a parking lot as officers were preparing to serve an arrest warrant against someone else. Vinson has said he saw Scott rolling a marijuana joint and holding a gun, and fired at him out of concern for public safety.
Scott's family maintains he wasn't holding the gun at the time of the shooting. Police say evidence indicates otherwise.
"He acted lawfully," Mecklenburg County, N.C., District Attorney Andrew Murray said at a news conference Wednesday announcing his decision. A team of 15 career prosecutors made the decision unanimously, Murray added.
Scott’s death set off multiple nights of protests in Charlotte, which got so bad that the National Guard had to be deployed to restore order.
District Attorney Murray also said that Scott was armed—and that fact was corroborated by four other police officers at the scene. Murray added that the gun was loaded and had a bullet chambered (via WaPo):
During the lengthy news conference, Murray pored over details from the day of the shooting, ultimately saying he had no doubt that Scott had a gun during the encounter. He also said the gun was loaded and had a bullet in the chamber.
In addition, police had released a photo of a “blunt” from the scene. Police have said that officers in an unmarked car in the apartment complex where the shooting occurred saw Scott, in his own car, rolling the blunt with marijuana.
Murray said Wednesday that while police said they were not going to act on the marijuana, they decided to move on Scott when they saw him raise a gun while sitting in his car.
The officers came to the apartment complex, where Scott’s car was parked, to serve a warrant to another person unrelated to this incident. Scott’s gun prompted them to respond.