The shooting of another African-American man by police has again sparked outrage across the country.
Keith Lamont Scott, 43, was the sixth person killed by police in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the 194th black person killed by U.S. police so far this year. The mounting racial tension exploded in violent protests Tuesday night that left 12 police officers injured.
The police department said Scott was deemed a threat because he was "armed with a firearm" when officers arrived at an apartment complex near the University of North Carolina to serve a warrant to a different person they believed to be in the area. When officers approached Scott in his car, "the man got back out of the vehicle armed with a firearm and posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina urged police Wednesday to release any body or dash cam footage of the shooting. Police officers must wear body cameras while on patrol and the cameras must be turned on during an arrest, according to department policy.
“We demand a full investigation into why yet another black person in the United States has died at the hands of a police officer," Karen Anderson, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina, said in a statement. "In the interest of transparency and accountability, and particularly in light of conflicting accounts about the shooting, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department should quickly release any and all footage it has of the events leading up to the shooting, as well as the shooting itself. The department should also explain why the officer who shot Mr. Scott was not wearing a body camera."
Brentley Vinson, the African-American officer who shot Scott, was placed on administrative leave by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Vinson was hired by the department in July 2014. It seems unlikely he will face charges in the shooting. The city's district attorney found police to be justified in the city's five previous officer-involved shootings, according to Charlotte's WSOC-9.
After Scott's death, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts urged the public to remain calm and wait for the all the facts to emerge in the case. Putney refuted rumors that Scott had been unarmed and reading a book in his car when officers' approached.
"I can tell you we did not find a book that has been referenced to," Putney said Wednesday. "We did find a weapon. The weapon was there and witnesses have corroborated it beyond just the officers."
Prosecutors across the country have largely not held police officers accountable in court for the deaths of civilians. Since 2005, there have only been 13 police officers in the country convicted of murder or manslaughter in fatal on-duty shootings, despite thousands of civilian fatalities from police altercations in that time span, according to The Huffington Post.
In July, Baltimore prosecutors announced they were dropping the remaining charges against three Baltimore police officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray. Gray, 25, was arrested in April and placed in a police van in handcuffs. When the van arrived at the police station, Gray had slipped into a coma and was in need of treatment for multiple spinal injuries. He died a week later.
Police claimed Gray injured himself while in the van, but an autopsy ruled the death a homicide.