CMPD response after decision on shooting charges - | WBTV Charlotte

CMPD response after decision on shooting charges

(Source: WBTV/File) (Source: WBTV/File)

Immediately after the decision came down that no criminal charges would be filed in the Keith Lamont Scott shooting, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police issued a statement explaining their work to re-build and maintain community trust.

CMPD said the shooting changed the lives of the Scott and Vinson families forever. It came down to a split-second decision by Officer Brently Vinson to use his service weapon, which resulted in a life being lost.

CMPD said as it strives to improve the department, it’s focused on several areas that will help transparency and keep the community safe.

Much of what the Department outlined in Wednesday’s statement had already been introduced to the community days after the shooting in September.  However, on the department’s stance on releasing body camera footage, CMPD went further in advocating for public release.

“In order to move forward with developing methods to be more transparent and showcase the incredibly difficult decisions our officers often must make in a split second, it is important for us to take the first step and request to release video to illustrate that. It will become CMPD’s standard practice to petition the court for the release of video(s) from officer involved incidents resulting in the death or serious injury of a citizen.

We expect to make the request of the court as soon as the investigation has exhausted the need for the video or the District Attorney has provided his prosecution decision.

The presiding judge will weigh all the factors, evidence and testimony from the pertinent parties to make the best decision possible.”

The position comes after state law changed in October restricting the release of police footage only through a court order. Previously, the decision was largely up to a police chief or city leaders. CMPD said after the shooting that it would move to better define its public position on releasing footage, but now, its position is a larger push toward transparency.

In addition, the Department reemphasized how the Police Foundation, an outside non-governmental research group, would review CMPD policy and procedures. The review will come with recommendations and community input.

The Department also wants to seek expanded use of body cameras.

The Department will explore the possibility of subpoena power for the Citizens Review Board, which oversees appeals concerning complaints against police officers.

CMPD is also working to increase online data on officer-involved shootings and incidents, as well as data on traffic stops.

CMPD shared with the public its emphasis and commitment to implicit bias training for all officers, including sensitivity to diversity. In the Department’s training module, implicit bias means that human beings naturally have some internal prejudices, which are not consciously recognized, even among well-intentioned people.

The Department says that research shows people who are aware of their implicit biases are motivated and able to implement unbiased behaviors. 

Much of the Department’s goals are recognized and supported by President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

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