Announcing a unanimous decision not to charge a Charlotte, N.C., police officer in the death of an armed man in September, Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray declared on Wednesday, Nov. 30, that the officer involved had acted fully within the law in the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott.
“I’m extremely convinced that Mr. Vinson’s use of deadly force was lawful,” Murray said.
The investigation revealed Scott had a Colt .380 semi-automatic in his hand that had been purchased illegally as he stepped out from his vehicle. The weapon was loaded and Scott’s DNA was on both the pistol grip and slide. Similarly, Scott ignored 10 commands from law enforcement at the scene to drop the weapon.
Scott’s death touched off a series of violent protests and attracted the attention of Black Lives Matter protesters. Rocked by two nights of protests and looting, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory later declared a state of emergency after one protester was killed by a rioter and dozens of arrests occurred.
Vinson, a plainclothes officer who fired the shots, was placed on administrative leave, routine in police-related shootings. Prior to the Scott incident, Vinson, 26, had been on the force since 2014 and had no disciplinary record.
Expressing disappointment with the decision no to charge Officer Vinson, the Scott family released a statement thanking Murray and asked the Charlotte community to conduct peaceful demonstrations.
Neither Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts nor Police Chief Kerr Putney publicly commented on the district attorney’s decision; however the city of Charlotte did release a statement which read:
“We recognize that for some members of our community, this news will be met with different reactions. No matter where you stand on the issue, the events surrounding the Scott shooting have forever changed our community, and we intend to learn from and build a stronger Charlotte because of it.”
A North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation report on Scott said the former private security guard, “was battling an array of psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, hallucinations and paranoia,” possibly due to a traumatic brain injury suffered in November 2015 after a motorcycle accident in South Carolina.
[RT America] [Charlotte Observer] [Photo courtesy Facebook/Liberty University via heavy.com]