The CMPD officer who fatally shot armed felon Keith Scott in Charlotte last fall when Scott refused to drop the stolen pistol in his hand has been completely exonerated.
Officer Brentley Vinson was justified in killing Scott during a confrontation outside a University City apartment complex Sept. 20, says a letter the department sent to Scott’s widow.
Police have said officers spotted Scott, 43, in a 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.
Following Scott’s death, riots and street demonstrations roiled Charlotte, prompted dozens of arrests and pushed 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 question 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 argue that Scott was sitting alone in the SUV and did not appear to pose a threat to anyone before police approached him.
As a result of CMPD’s internal findings, Vinson won’t face termination, suspension or other severe discipline stemming from the shooting.
Officer Vinson fired to protect his fellow officers after Scott refused to drop his weapon after repeated warnings. He violated no laws, not policies in a justifiable use of deadly force.
Perhaps I’m being a bit to critical and logical for some, but if I had a family member with a traumatic brain injury that reduced his cognitive function, I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t let him or her wander around with a gun in public. This would go double if he was a convicted felon with a history of violent criminal complaints against him even prior to the injury.