(Reuters) - Police in North Carolina released graphic camera footage of the shooting and death of a black man by officers in Charlotte last month, and a lawyer for the family said the video does not offer evidence supporting a police narrative that he was holding a gun.
The death of Keith Scott, a 43-year-old father of seven, was one of the latest to raise questions about racial bias in U.S. law enforcement and further stoke a national debate on America’s criminal justice system ahead of November’s presidential election.
Protesters and family members have demanded Charlotte-Mecklenburg police release full police body camera footage in part to back up the police narrative that Scott was armed during the September 20 shooting.
A roughly 16-minute video shows officers giving Scott medical aid as he lay unresponsive on the ground in a parking lot. He repeatedly moans in agony, with his hands bound behind his back with handcuffs.
At one point, an officer says “stay with us” as officers count the bullet wounds on his bloodied body.
No gun can be seen with Scott in the video.
Even so, an officer near Scott tells another officer to “stay right here with the gun.”
After the video’s release, Justin Bamberg, a lawyer for Scott’s family, was quoted by the Charlotte Observer newspaper as telling reporters that the new video does not show Scott was armed.
“My belief is if it was in that section near his body, you would have seen it,” Bamberg said, according to the newspaper. “We still don’t know. This video does not shine any light on whether a firearm was in his possession or where it was found.”
The funeral for Scott was canceled because of Hurricane Matthew bearing down on the region.
Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Nick Macfie