On Friday, after days of protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, the video of Keith Lamont Scott being shot by police was released by Scott's family via The New York Times. Keith's wife, Rakeyia, was present at the scene and recorded the video herself. She is the latest individual to record the death of a loved one at the hands of police as a means of securing justice. The video does not make clear the answer to the point of contention between Scott's family and police: whether Scott was holding a gun, or a book, which his mother claims was the Quran. (Side note: It would have been legal for Scott to carry a firearm under state laws.)
This article will not show the video, but you can watch it at The New York Times here.
Scott's death sparked days of protests, both violent and nonviolent, in Charlotte. Protesters called on the Charlotte police department to release footage of Scott's death; it is as yet unclear whether the department will do so.
The following details are, of course, disturbing: The video does not show the exact sequence of events, and the circumstances during the moment of the shooting are unclear. "He has no weapon; don't shoot him," Rakeyia says in the video. Police officers can be heard demanding that Scott puts down a firearm. (No gun can be seen in the video, as NBC reports.) Shortly afterwards, four shots can be heard, and the Scott can be seeing lying on the ground.
After the shooting, the police department maintained that Scott had a gun and posed a threat. Scott's friends, family, and supporters have maintained that Scott was holding a book, not a gun, and posed no threat to officers when he was shot dead. They insist that he was merely waiting for his son to come home from school.
Protesters in Charlotte came out in full force Wednesday, and 26-year-old protester Justin Carr was caught in the gunfire. He died, and on Friday a man was arrested and charged with his murder. Protests on Thursday continued, but were more muted.
"We want the tape!" protesters demanded Thursday night, according to CNN.
In the New York Times transcript, Rakeiya says after her husband was shot: "F--k. Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him? He better not be f--king dead. He better not be f--king dead. I know that f--king much. I know that much. He better not be dead. I’m not going to come near you. I’m going to record, though. I’m not coming near you. I’m going to record, though. He better be alive because ... You better be alive. How about that? Yes, we here, over here at 50... 50... 9453 Lexington Court. These are the police officers that shot my husband, and he better live. He better live. Because he didn’t do nothing to them."