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The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released body and dashboard camera videos of the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott on Saturday, but is still withholding more than two hours of footage from the officer-involved shooting.
Following the shooting on Sept. 20, North Carolina declared a state of emergency last week as protesters took the streets rioting against the shooting and asking police to release footage.
The body camera captured 16 minutes of footage and the dashboard cam recorded one hour and 50 minutes at the shooting scene. Only less than two minutes were released.
The dashboard recording shows Scott exiting the vehicle and Officer Brentley Vinson firing four shots while the body cam shows Scott on the floor after being shot.
Officers claim Scott was armed when he was shot, but his family says he was not. His family and protesters are asking for the complete footage as it can help answer questions, including whether he was armed.
Police have released images of a gun, but provide no detail as to where it was found.
The community has the right to access records of public agencies under the North Carolina Public Records Act. In this case, video footage is a record and a police department is a public agency.
But CMPD argues the videos are not public as the law exempts “reports of criminal investigations” from being released if it undermines an ongoing investigation.
The videos must be connected to the “transaction of public business” in order to be considered public records. It is possible to argue against the CMPD’s interpretation of the law, as there is nothing private to the situation given that the shooting took place in a public parking lot with witnesses.
Rakeyia Scott, wife of Scott, was at the scene and NBC News released her recording on Friday.
She repeatedly asks Scott to get out of the vehicle and for officers not to shoot him. She tells them Scott has a traumatic brain injury and has just taken his medicine.
Her video offers a graphic exposure to the situation. It is this kind of transparency that people are asking from authorities.
Update 6:36pm CT Sept. 30: According to WBBC anchor Morgan Fogarty, the remaining footage from the incident will be released the week of Oct. 3.
Nidia Cavazos is a multimedia journalist with an emphasis on political reporting. She's contributed to Univision, KXAN, and USA Today College, and she was named one of six NBC Fellows by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in 2017.