City of Charlotte issues statement re: officer-involved shooting

Jordan-Ashley Walker


Contact: Jordan-Ashley Walker
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City of Charlotte issues statements regarding officer-involved shooting

Charlotte, NC (Sept. 21, 2016) — The City of Charlotte is providing the statements issued during today’s 9:30 a.m. news conference regarding the officer-involved shooting on Tuesday, Sept. 20. Mayor Jennifer Roberts, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Executive Director Willie Ratchford spoke during the news conference.

Mayor Roberts Opening Statement:

We gather this morning to address the events of last night with regard to the officer-involved shooting involving Keith Lamont Scott and Officer Brentley Vinson. This is a difficult situation for everyone involved and the city expresses condolences to the family of Mr. Scott. I also want to express concern for the officers who have been injured. There’s a lot of information that is still to be sorted out, so I’d like to ask people to wait until all information is available. 

In Charlotte, we have a long history of working together to solve our problems thoughtfully and peacefully and you have the commitment from Charlotte/Mecklenburg--elected officials, police, neighborhood and business leaders, and faith communities--that this tradition will continue. We also have a long history of transparency and accountability, which again, we remain committed to.

We understand that with these events, everyone has different viewpoints and perspectives, and that makes it even more important to treat each other with dignity and respect. I ask that as you express your viewpoint or perspective, please keep in mind that our top priority is for Charlotte to remain a safe community for everyone who lives and visits here.

Please be patient with CMPD and other city leaders, as this is an ongoing investigation.  At this time I’d like to turn it over to Chief Putney who will share more details about the investigation as it stands right now.

Mayor Roberts Concluding Statement:

We understand that there may be continuing protests this evening and I want to emphasize that I have spoken with many community and faith leaders already and we are calling for peace and calm in the community.

I have also spoken with the governor and other leaders in the state as we continue to dispel much of the misinformation that is circulating. I am confident in Charlotte’s strong police and community relations and I want to emphasize that we will continue to be thorough and transparent in releasing information as soon as it is available.
Thank you for being here. We will take a few questions.

Chief Putney Statement: 

These are the facts as we know them right now based on statements from witnesses and evidence gathered from the scene:

  • On Tuesday, September 20, 2016, at 3:54 p.m., officers from the Metro Division Crime Reduction Unit were searching for a suspect with an outstanding warrant at The Village at College Downs. 
  • Officers observed a subject, Mr. Keith Lamont Scott, inside a vehicle in the apartment complex.  The subject exited the vehicle armed with a handgun.  Officers observed the subject get back into the vehicle at which time they began to approach the subject. 
  • Officers gave loud and clear verbal commands, corroborated by witnesses, for the subject to drop the weapon. 
  • In spite of these verbal commands, Mr. Scott exited the vehicle still armed with the handgun as officers continued to tell him to drop his weapon. 
  • The subject posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers and Officer Brentley Vinson subsequently fired his weapon striking the subject.  The officers immediately requested Medic and began performing CPR.
  • Medic responded to the scene and transported the subject to Carolinas Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased. 
  • Detectives recovered the firearm the subject was holding at the time of the shooting in close proximity to the subject. 
  • Per department protocol, the Officer Vinson will be placed on Administrative Leave.
  • At approximately 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, CMPD Officers encountered protesters following the officer involved shooting incident. 
  • At approximately 8:00 p.m., officers encountered the crowd transitioned from peaceful protestors to a more aggressive group of agitators as events of the night developed.
  • The CMPD Civil Emergency Unit was deployed at approximately 8:30 p.m., to deescalate the situation and restore order.
  • Air support from the CMPD Aviation Unit provided an overhead view of rapidly changing conditions on the ground. 
  • At approximately 9:00 p.m., multiple subjects began damaging police vehicles and throwing objects at officers on the scene. 
  • At 10:54 p.m., the CMPD Civil Emergency Unit gave a dispersal order to the group.  After an additional dispersal order was ignored by demonstrators, CEU officers deployed tear gas to disperse the unruly demonstrators, who continued to throw objects and damage property. 
  • At approximately 1:45 a.m., an additional group of protestors gathered in both lanes of travel on Interstate 85 and started a fire.  Both north and southbound lanes were shutdown.  Dispersal orders were given at 3:00 a.m., tear gas was deployed and I-85 reopened at approximately 3:30 a.m.
  • Despite repeated directions to stop, demonstrators attempted to push through the police line, resulting in the arrest of one person.  As of today, we know of a total of 16 officers who were injured.   Multiple police vehicles were damaged, as officers attempted to deescalate the situation and protect our community. 
  • As always, the CMPD will work to facilitate peaceful and lawful protests.  However, when our officers are injured and property is being damaged, it changes the situation. 

Ratchford Statement:

As a community, we in Charlotte-Mecklenburg have always worked tirelessly to address concerns surrounding police and community relations. We have encouraged our citizens to exchange personal stories, experiences and diverse perspectives to foster growth and healing during difficult times.

As our community continues to respond to this most recent incident, we suggest bringing together houses of faith, community organizations and organizers, millennials, local police and many others to ensure that we are engaging in productive dialogue.

We must all continue the work we’ve started to make Charlotte a community that honors us all with respect, dignity and appreciation.

In the past, we’ve always found ways to work peacefully through our differences and we believe we will continue our legacy of solving our problems together. It is how we do things in Charlotte.

Thank you.