City of Charlotte facing national criticism for not releasing videos of fatal police shooting
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney and a broad range of other city officials took questions at a press conference at the Government Center in uptown Charlotte Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016 (John D. Simmons | Charlotte Observer)
The city of Charlotte and Mayor Jennifer Roberts are facing national criticism for not releasing police videos from Tuesday’s fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.
In an editorial Friday under the headline “Release the Charlotte Police Video,” The New York Times praises the Tulsa, Okla., police department for making a video public of an officer shooting and killing Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man.
“By contrast, the Police Department in Charlotte, N.C., has responded in exactly the wrong way to a police officer’s killing on Tuesday of another black man, Keith Scott,” the editorial says. “It has opted for stonewalling. The department – which has said that Mr. Scott brandished a gun when he was shot dead – has refused to make public the video that might show how the shooting occurred.”
The editorial says that the “best way to allay the community’s distrust is complete transparency.
“Unfortunately, the city’s mayor, Jennifer Roberts, seems largely at sea and depressingly out of touch with how lack of an open governmental response led to demonstrations in places like Ferguson, Mo., Cleveland and Baltimore,” the Times writes.
CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said the videos would not be released because, among other reasons, it might infringe upon a parallel state investigation into the shooting.
Besides The New York Times, the city has faced other criticism for not releasing the video. Friday morning, the Huffington Post’s main headline blared: “Release the video.”
Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP also have called on police to release the videos.
Nancy La Vigne, director of the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., told NPR for a story that regardless of what the law requires, “I think ... it’s very important that agencies share the footage when there are high-profile incidents.”
A new state law will soon prevent police agencies from releasing body camera footage to the public without a court order. But critics note that the new law doesn’t go into effect until Oct. 1.