A woman identifying herself as Taheshia Williams is claiming to be an eyewitness to the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CPMD) officers.
Scott was shot and killed after reportedly brandishing a firearm and advancing upon officers three uniformed officers and a fourth officer, Officer Brentley Vinson, who was wearing a department issue ballistic vest with a displayed badge and emblazoned with the word “POLICE” similar to the one below
From the very beginning, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney has been very clear that Scott was shot and killed by Officer Vinson, who is also black.
But Ms. Williams is claiming that Chief Putney, Officer Vinson, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department are engaged in a grand conspiracy to cover up what she claims to be the actual truth: that Keith Lamont Scott was not shot by Officer Vinson while he advanced upon the officers with a gun in his hand, but that he was essentially executed by a white cop, and that Scott never had a gun in his possession.
Williams has done interviews with numerous news outlets, who have all reported her claiming to see the incident uncritically, without the slightest bit of skepticism.
He got out the car with his hands up because the police told him to get out the car. He got out the car. The book fell off his lap, the book he was reading. He got out the car and then he walked around his car to the back of his car. When he walked back there, when his wife was running down saying, ‘No, stop, don’t do that,’ by the time she got right here to where his car was, they had shot that man four times.
It’s a fascinating story, isn’t it?
If her account was true, that Keith Lamont Scott was executed by a white officer for no reason whatsoever while unarmed and the CMPD was conducting a cover-up to the very highest levels, we’d be dealing with one of the most explosive law enforcement scandals in a generation.
But there’s a slight problem with Taheshia Williams’s story, and it’s one that we were able to find within five minutes of seeing her interview.
On that page, on Tuesday September 20 at 5:41 PM, Ms. Williams posted three pictures of the aftermath of the shooting of Keith Lamont Harris.
The first one was of a distraught family member and has little bearing on the incident beyond human interest, but she also posted two photographs of CMPD officers attempting to provide CPR to Keith Lamont Scott just after he was shot.
If you look at the black officer in the white shirt and black ballistic vest, you’ll note that he bears a striking resemblance of the known photos of officer Officer Brentley Vinson, and may in fact be him. None of the visible white officers are bald.
Guess what Ms. Williams’s pictures capture, that she so adamantly claims was not there?
— Joe Bruno (@JoeBrunoWSOC9) September 21, 2016
Yes, framed dead-center between the feet of the uniformed officer with his back to us is the black semi-automatic handgun that Keith Lamont Scott reportedly had in his hands as he advanced upon CMPD officers, an event that was reportedly captured on a CMPD dash camera video that will be shown to Mr. Scott’s family within the next few hours.
So, was Taheshia Williams lying to multiple news outlets, including major cable television networks, national newspapers, and local television and radio stations? Did she fabricate an incredibly damning and dangerous conspiracy theory, just to seek her proverbial 15 minutes of fame?
That’s certainly one possibility.
If that proves to be the case, then Ms. Williams should be held to account.
I’m going to be very generous, however, and suggest we’re seeing something else play out here. It is a phenomena that investigators are very well aware of but which the general public very rarely gets to see, and that is that our perceptions of what we think we see don’t necessarily have a great deal to do with reality itself.
You aren’t nearly as aware are you think you are, as can easily be proven by this awareness test. Please indulge me and watch the following video, concentrating carefully on doing as you are instructed.
How many passes of the basketball does the team in white make?
It’s fascinating, isn’t it? In the real world, we are hampered by our perceptions.
We look for familiar patterns. We filter out things that are unusual. We fill in blanks and gaps in our memory with things that didn’t occur, and it has been proven time and again that we can misremember things after the fact that were never really there at all.
Taheshia Williams didn’t see Keith Lamont Scott’s handgun in her own photographs, even though it was front and center and obvious to those of us who know what to look for, because she didn’t expect to see it, or perhaps didn’t want to see it.
It didn’t comport with what she wants to remember or thinks she remembers, about the last moments of the life of Keith Lamont Thomas, a man she apparently knew in her neighborhood.
Perhaps she also wants to remember a white cop as the officer who shot Mr. Scott, as that is something that has been repeatedly claimed by Mr. Scott’s brother, and daughter, who were not present at the time of the shooting. This many not be malicious, but simply sympathetic.
As human beings we have a tendency to believe what we want to believe, instead of the actual facts.
Mr. Scott’s family will be shown the dash camera video of him advancing upon cops today. It will show a black CMPD police officer, Brentley Vinson, fire four shots when Keith Scott refuses to drop his handgun.
That’s reality, whether a tainted witness wants to believe it, or not.