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Charlotte police release video of shooting

AAP logoAAP 24/09/2016

Charlotte police have released two videos showing the fatal shooting of a black man that has unleashed days of protests, but the footage has failed to settle the central question of whether shooting victim Keith Scott was holding a gun.

Protesters who have gathered in Charlotte in the US every day since the Tuesday shooting demanding that police release the body-cam and dashboard video marched again on Saturday evening.

Both Scott's family and protesters have disputed the police statements that Scott was carrying a gun.

The controversy over Scott's death has made Charlotte, North Carolina's largest city, the latest flashpoint in two years of tense protests over US police killings of black men, most of them unarmed.

Before the release of the footage, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney acknowledged that the videos themselves were "insufficient" to prove that Scott held a gun. But he said that the totality of evidence, including eyewitness testimony, supported the conclusion that Scott was armed.

In a statement accompanying the video release, police said Scott was shot by Officer Brentley Vinson as he backed away from his vehicle.

"Officer Vinson perceived Mr Scott's actions and movements as an imminent physical threat to himself and the other officers," the statement said.

Police released pictures along with the clips, including photos of a handgun and an ankle holster that authorities said Scott had been wearing at the time of the shooting.

Police said that the gun recovered at the scene was loaded and had Scott's fingerprints and DNA.

But Scott's family, which released its own video of the encounter on Friday, said the footage showed the father of seven was not acting aggressively and that the police shooting made no sense. The family video, shot by Scott's wife, was also inconclusive on the question of a gun.

In one of the police videos, a dashboard-mounted camera from a squad car showed Scott exiting his vehicle and then backing away from it. Police shout to him to drop a gun, but it is not clear that Scott is holding anything. Four shots then ring out and Scott drops to the ground.

A second video, taken with an officer's body camera, fails to capture the moment of shooting. It shows Scott standing outside his vehicle before he is shot, but it is not clear whether he has something in his hand. The officer then moves and Scott is out of view until he is seen lying on the ground.

Scott's family and family attorneys said the videos showed Scott walking away slowly from officers at the time he was struck by bullets.

Ray Dotch, Scott's brother-in-law, said much of the media attention has focused on what kind of person Scott was. Although he was a "good person," Dotch said, what really matters is that "he was an American citizen who deserved better."

Hundreds marched through the centre of Charlotte on Saturday evening, including white and black families protesting police violence.

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