A lawyer for the family of Keith Lamont Scott is scheduled to appear before Charlotte’s Citizens Review Board on June 27 to appeal the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s finding that an officer was justified in killing Scott last fall.
CMPD determined in March that Officer Brentley Vinson followed proper procedures when he fatally shot the 43-year-old Scott during a confrontation outside a University City apartment complex on Sept. 20.
Police said officers spotted Scott in an SUV with marijuana and a gun. Vinson told investigators he shot because he feared for his life and the lives of other officers on the scene.
Scott’s death sparked riots and street demonstrations that roiled Charlotte, prompting dozens of arrests and pushing then-Gov. Pat McCrory to declare a state of emergency. Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray previously ruled that the shooting was legally justified and that Vinson would not face criminal charges.
But protesters and some law enforcement experts questioned whether CMPD unnecessarily resorted to deadly force against a person with a traumatic brain injury that made it difficult for him to follow directions. They also argued that Scott was sitting alone in the SUV and did not appear to pose a threat to anyone before police approached him.
A review board comprised of CMPD leaders, a police attorney and a member of the city’s Community Relations Committee determined on March 20 that the shooting was proper because Scott got out of the vehicle with a gun and refused repeated commands to drop the weapon.
Lawyer Charles Monnett filed an appeal of that determination with the Citizens Review Board on May 16, contending the findings “are contrary to CMPD’s written policies and procedures.”
The Citizens Review Board is a civilian oversight panel that looks into allegations of misconduct against CMPD officers.
“Mr. Scott’s shooting was not justified by law nor did it conform with CMPD’s policies and procedures,” Monnett wrote in his appeal. The city provided a copy of the appeal to the Observer and other media outlets on Friday.
The board will begin the meeting in open session at 4 p.m. at the Government Center, city spokeswoman Jordan-Ashley Walker said.
Once the board is ready to consider the appeal – probably 5 to 7 minutes after the meeting begins – a motion will be made to enter closed session, according to Walker. That is standard practice for the board, she said.
During the closed session, the board will hear separately from Monnett and then a CMPD representative, Walker said. The board will return to open session and decide on the appeal. The board could agree with CMPD’s determination or request a hearing where both sides present evidence.