Testimony ends in CRB evidentiary hearing in fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott

Testimony ends in CRB evidentiary hearing in fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Testimony ended before the Citizens Review Board (CRB) in Charlotte Wednesday afternoon after holding an evidentiary hearing into the Keith Lamont Scott case.

In June, the Citizen's Review Board found "potential error" in CMPD Chief Kerr Putney's decision to justify Officer Brentley Vinson's actions. Vinson shot and killed Scott on September 20 after police say he wouldn't comply with their orders. According to police, a gun was found on his body.

The board is reviewing the findings of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's internal investigation which decided Vinson was justified in shooting Scott last September.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney was the last witness to go before the board. Board members will hear closing arguments Thursday morning and then deliberations are expected to begin.

A group of protesters stood outside the closed session room with signs Wednesday morning.

Nine board members are hearing the case, and a majority vote is needed for a decision.

If board members believe the department made a mistake in deciding Vinson acted appropriately, they can make recommendations regarding policy to the chief and the city manager.

The organization, Safe Coalition NC, says if the chief changes his mind and disciplines the officer, then the public wouldn't find out because that information would stay confidential.

"I feel like it should be open to the public and it should be something that we should have access to," Temako McCarthy said, who is a member of Safe Coalition NC. "That's the only way you can be transparent and build trust if we feel something is getting accomplished but if everything is constantly going to be a secret and kept behind closed doors then how can you say trust is being rebuilt."

City officials say the CRB evidentiary hearing is confidential because it involves a personnel issue. They have not said how many witnesses board members have heard from or how many pieces of evidence have been reviewed. Witnesses in the case who are appearing before the board are coming voluntarily.

Advocates say the CRB needs more power so an appearance before the board would be mandatory.

"It's still not going to be a total board of the people for the people by the people until the board has subpoena power and its own investigatory power and not reliant on internal affairs to deny the case and then them being able to pick it up," said Robert Dawkins of Safe Coalition NC.

Dawkins said the evidentiary hearings show that the CRB is slowing making progress.

"We're seeing the Citizens Review Board at least start to move in the right directions. I wish it would move faster but we will take this as a win," Dawkins said. "And we will take this as a clarion call to the everyone in the community to stay involved until we can push the board to have as many powers as it can be empowered with."

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