In September, rioting broke out in Charlotte, North Carolina after a black police officer shot and killed Kenneth Lamont Scott. Mr. Scott was an African-American who, according to the police, pulled a gun and refused to drop it. From the beginning, the shooting looked justified, but we couldn’t tell for sure until the matter was thoroughly investigated.
Now, with the investigation complete, it is clear that there was no wrongdoing in the shooting of Mr. Scott. Today, Mecklenburg District Attorney Andrew Murray laid out the evidence in what the Charlotte Observer describes as “painstaking detail.”
Evidence in the case shows that Scott stepped out of his SUV with a gun in his hand, Murray said, and ignored at least 10 commands from the five officers on the scene to drop it.
Murray said that Scott bought the gun – a Colt .380 semi-automatic that had been stolen in Gaston County – 18 days before the confrontation for $100. One bullet was found in the chamber of the cocked gun, the safety was off and Murray said Scott’s DNA was found on the grip and slide.
The person who sold the gun to Scott admitted to doing so when confronted by state and federal law enforcement, according to a prosecutor’s report on the shooting. “The seller said that Scott asked him to find him a weapon because he was having problems with his wife and her family, specifically his nephew,” the report said.
But what about the people who claimed on social media that they saw Scott step out of his car unarmed? According to Murray, these people later recanted. Three people who made the claim told State Bureau of Investigation agents in interviews that they hadn’t actually seen the shooting.
What about the claim that Scott had a book, not a gun, when he was shot? No such book was found in the vicinity of Scott’s van.
In other words, the anti-police narrative that became the pretext for two nights of rioting — during which 16 police officers and a number of civilians were injured — was a pack of lies. But this won’t stop the left from adding Scott’s name to the list of “victims” who have been “executed” by “racist” police officers. Michael Brown, the “gentle giant” who assaulted a police officer in Missouri, still graces that list.
The truth is that Scott was a convicted felon who had been sentenced in 2005 to seven years in prison in Texas for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Medical records show that at the time of his death, Scott was battling an array of psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, hallucinations and paranoia. Not long before his confrontation with the police, his wife told Scott’s therapist that his temper and impatience had increased, and said “something has to give.”
Something did give. Scott pulled a gun on the police and refused repeated orders to drop it. The black officer who shot him was fully justified in doing so.
Because of the sensitivity of the case, District Attorney Murray presented the evidence to 15 veteran prosecutors in his office. The 15 included two African-Americans and one Latino. The prosecutors were unanimous in their recommendation that there was insufficient evidence to charge the African-American officer who shot Scott.
Will new rioting follow the decision not to charge the officer? The authorities fear that it will. They have mobilized specialized units, including the riot squad.
Fortunately, Scott’s family does not seem interested in fanning the flames. So perhaps the city will be spared.
But for a dysfunctional minority community egged on, quite possibly, by professional left-wing agitators, the city would have been spared the first time around.