23 Sep 2016

Video doesn't show 'absolute' evidence of pointed gun

6:42 am on 23 September 2016

Video of a fatal police shooting does not provide "definitive" evidence the black man who died was pointing a gun at officers, a North Carolina police chief says.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police chief Kerr Putney and  mayor Jennifer Roberts

Police chief Kerr Putney said the video would be shown to Mr Scott's family but not released to the public. Photo: AFP

But Charlotte-Mecklenburg police chief Kerr Putney said the "totality of all of the other evidence" supported the police version of events. He said the video would be shown to Mr Scott's family, but not to the public at this stage.

The shooting on Tuesday of Keith Scott, 43, by a black officer has sparked two nights of violent protests in North Carolina's largest city. The state's governor declared a state of emergency in Charlotte late on Wednesday after a second consecutive night of violence led to 44 arrests.

Demonstrators arguing during protests in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Demonstrators arguing during protests in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo: AFP

"The video doesn't give me absolute, definitive, visual evidence that would confirm that a person is pointing a gun," Mr Putney told a news conference. "I didn't see that in the video that I reviewed."

But he said all of the evidence together backs up "the version of the truth that we gave about the circumstances that happened that led to the death of Mr Scott".

He said the video would be released to the public "when we believe there is a compelling reason".

Charlotte's district attorney said he planned to make a request for a state investigation into the shooting at the request of Mr Scott's family.

Protesters injured

Ten protesters were injured in Wednesday's unrest, including a civilian who remains in critical condition after suffering a gunshot wound. Police said the shooting was "civilian on civilian" and did not involve officers. Mr Putney said five officers required medical care, including two for minor eye injuries.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory deployed the National Guard as rioters clashed with police, breaking windows and setting small fires.

Riot police fired flash grenades and tear gas as they faced hundreds of protesters. Several journalists were attacked by the crowd including a CNN journalist tackled on live TV, local media report.

A police officer in riot gear walks past a fire on the I-85 during protests in the early hours of the morning in Charlotte, North Carolina.

A police officer in riot gear walks past a fire on the I-85 during protests in the early hours of the morning in Charlotte. Photo: AFP

Rakeyia Scott, the wife of Mr Scott, issued a statement on Thursday called for peaceful protest.

"As a family, we respect the rights of those who wish to protest, but we ask that people protest peacefully," the statement read. "Please do not hurt the people or members of law enforcement, damage property or take things that do not belong to you in the name of protesting."

Mr Scott was killed at a block of flats in disputed circumstances and was the third black male killed by US police in the last week.

Police were serving an arrest warrant on another person when they say they saw Mr Scott get out of a car with a handgun.

Officers say he was repeatedly told to drop his handgun before he was shot.

But his family say he was reading a book, as he waited for his son to be dropped off by the school bus.

It is legal to openly carry a handgun in North Carolina, but a special permit is required to carry a concealed weapon.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has called for the release of the video.

"In these days of ready video and audio recordings, we believe that reviewing these recordings can and will help both sides get to the truth," it said in a statement.

- BBC