While the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department continues to maintain that Keith Lamont Scott, a disabled Black man, was armed with a gun when a police officer shot him to death earlier this week, an eyewitness has come forward claiming that the police department is being dishonest.
Al Jazeera recently spoke with Taheshia Williams, a young woman who was at the scene, that argues that the 43-year-old wasn’t armed with anything other than a book.
“He got out the car with his hands up because the police told him to get out the car. He got out the car. The book fell off his lap, the book he was reading. He got out the car and then he walked around his car to the back of his car. When he walked back there, when his wife was running down saying, ‘No, stop, don’t do that,’ by the time she got right here to where his car was, they had shot that man four times,” she told Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher.
“I’m telling you what I believe, that it’s a cover-up. They made a mistake and they’re doing their best to cover up that mistake,” she added.
She also states Police Officer Brentley Vinson, who is also Black, wasn’t the officer that actually shot Scott—it was a white officer instead.
“It was not a Black officer that killed him. It was a white officer that killed him. He was bald-headed. The black officer came on the scene 15, maybe 10 or 15 minutes later. And he was the one doing CPR on him … and I’m pretty sure by that time, the man was already gone. He didn’t die at 4 [at the hospital], he died out here at 2:30,” she stressed.
“I actually saw the shooting. I saw that man die. I saw him take his last breath. I saw him move and then there was nothing; he didn’t move no more after that.”
Now Williams’ account contradicts what Chief Kerr Putney has maintained since the shooting: That Scott had a gun, he posed an “imminent threat” to the officers involved and that they never found a book on the scene.
“I can tell you we did not find a book that has been referenced to,” Putney said during a press briefing. “We did find a weapon. The weapon was there and witnesses have corroborated it, beyond just the officers.”
There’s also been a photo taken by another witness that’s been circulating around the Internet that shows a blurry, dark, gun-like object laying by Scott’s feet, BET reported. Yet, police have to confirm if that was the weapon in question.
In the meantime, Putney announced on Thursday in a news conference that the police department plans on showing the bodycam video to Scott’s family, ABC News reported. Also, still unwavering from his stance that Scott had a gun—a claim that his family rejects—Putney admitted that the video he’s seen does not show “definitive, visual evidence that would confirm that a person is pointing a gun.”
“I did not see that in the videos that I reviewed. So what I can tell you, though, is when taken in the totality of all the other evidence, it supports what we’ve heard and the version of the truth that we gave about the circumstances that happened that led to the death of Mr. Scott,” he said.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg police also stressed that they have no plans on releasing the video to the public at this time.
“We [will] release it when we believe it is a compelling reason, but I’m not going to jeopardize the investigation,” he told reporters.
As HELLO BEAUTIFUL previously reported, since Scott’s death, the city of Charlotte has been in political unrest, with protestors taking to the street, shutting down Interstate 85 and looting a Walmart. There have also been serious acts of violence documenting including a protester and a police officer dying after being shot. In response to the violence, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency on Wednesday.
Pray for Charlotte, ya’ll.