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CMPD stands by decision in Scott case after rebuke by Citizens Review Board

Maj. Estella Patterson, who leads CMPD’s internal affairs division, addressed the Citizens Review Board’s announcement.
Maj. Estella Patterson, who leads CMPD’s internal affairs division, addressed the Citizens Review Board’s announcement.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said its review of the Keith Lamont Scott case was thorough, despite the Citizens Review Board’s finding Tuesday night that there was “substantial evidence of error” in the process.

When Officer Brentley Vinson shot and killed Scott in September, the case attracted national attention and sparked days of protests and dozens of arrests in Charlotte. CMPD determined in April that Vinson followed department procedures in the shooting.

On Wednesday, the department said it stands behind its April finding and also supports Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray’s decision not to charge Vinson criminally.

The Citizens Review Board will meet again Aug. 8 to review evidence and hear from witnesses. If it determines that the shooting was unjustified after that process, the board can recommend that CMPD change its finding.

Major Estella Patterson, who leads CMPD’s internal affairs division, refused to speculate about how the department would respond if the board recommends that CMPD change its finding.

Patterson pointed to precedent when discussing the Citizens Review Board, which has never ruled in favor of citizens.

“We have had cases before where initially, just like this, they have not agreed with the chief,” she said. “But once you have the full hearing and they have all the information presented before them, they have an opportunity to hear from witnesses – then they determine at that point that the chief did not err.”

CMPD spokesman Rob Tufano said he talked with Chief Kerr Putney about the board’s decision Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. He said Putney respects the board’s work, which he emphasized is ongoing.

Jane Wester; 704-358-5331; @janewester

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