Crowds demand release of police footage showing moment Keith Lamont Scott was killed, and ignore calls to go home.
The family of a black man killed by police have released their own video of the fatal shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina, and called on police to release their recording of the incident.
The actual moment 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott is shot is not shown in the two-minute video, which was recorded by the victim’s wife, Rakeyia Scott, and released to US media on Friday.
In the dramatic clip, Rakeyia can be heard pleading with the armed officers.
“Don’t shoot him! He has no weapon,” she can be heard saying.
“Drop the gun!” the police are heard shouting.
Rakeyia tells the officers that her husband, a father of seven, has a traumatic brain injury. At one point, she tells Scott to get out of the car so that the police do not smash the windows.
As the encounter escalates, she repeatedly warns the officers: “You better not shoot him.”
About six gunshots can be heard in the video, followed by Rakeyia’s scream: “Did you shoot him? He better not be dead.”
Police said an officer fired the fatal shot at Scott on Tuesday after he ignored warnings to drop a gun. However, neighbours said he was holding only a book. Police said a gun was found next to his body.
Scott’s death extends a long line of black victims killed by police, and sparked days of protests in Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest city.
Protesters dismissed the police account that Scott was holding a gun when he was killed. Many continued their protest for a fourth night on Friday into the early hours of Saturday, defying a recently imposed curfew from midnight to 6am.
Charlotte should release police video of the Keith Lamont Scott shooting without delay. We must ensure justice & work to bridge divides. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 23, 2016
Police said they would not punish protesters who marched past midnight as long as they were peaceful. Earlier in the week, a protester was shot and later died of his wounds in hospital. There are conflicting reports as to whether a police officer or civilian fired the bullet at the 26-year-old victim, named as Jason Carr.
No weapon can be seen in the video of Scott’s death released on Friday, which was filmed a few metres from the scene.
Police said footage from police body cameras supports their claim that Scott was armed, but refused to release the video publicly. A police spokesman said the video’s release could harm an investigation, but said authorities would eventually share the clip.
Demonstrators have been chanting “release the tape” and “we want the tape” during protests.
“There’s nothing in that video that shows him acting aggressively, threatening or maybe dangerous,” said Justin Bamberg, a lawyer representing the Scott family.
Bamberg, who has also seen the police video, said that Scott can be seen getting out of his car calmly.
“While police did give him several commands, he did not aggressively approach them or raise his hands at members of law enforcement at any time. It is impossible to discern from the videos what, if anything, Mr Scott is holding in his hands,” Bamberg said.
Scott was shot as he walked slowly backwards with his hands by his side, Bamberg said.
‘214 black Americans killed by police’
Scott was the 214th black person killed by US police so far this year of 821, according to Mapping Police Violence.
There is no national-level government data on police shootings.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican, signed a law last week that would require authorities to obtain a court order before releasing police video. Critics said the law would prevent the transparency needed to quell public anger in the wake of police shootings.
Charlotte is the latest US city to be shaken over police killings of black men by police, a list that includes Baltimore, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York and Ferguson, Missouri.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Thursday, prosecutors charged a white police officer with manslaughter for killing an unarmed black man on a city street last week.