The story of criminal Keith Scott and police officer Brently Vinson is a fascinating study in two starkly different views of the rule of law. In September of 2016, In Charlotte, NC career criminal Keith Scott had the bad luck to be parked near where the police were about to serve an arrest warrant on someone else. An officer noticed Scott smoking a blunt in his vehicle, and initially ignored him, but a short time later saw him still at it, but this time, with a handgun visible. The police couldn’t ignore that, and when they approached Scott, he got out of the car, a handgun in his hand, ignored repeated and clear police orders, and was shot and killed.
The irony involved? Both Scott and the officer that shot him are black.
In Charlotte: A Tale of Two Black Lives, I wrote:
Keith Scott was not just another average Joe, a citizen going about his business, intending harm to none. He was a convicted felon, a felon convicted of multiple crimes of violence, many involving deadly weapons, including guns. His criminal record—which as reported by The Observer is surely incomplete—stretches over 24 years. His adult record began no later than when he was 19. With this kind of adult record, it is a virtual certainty he had a substantial juvenile record of offenses, which if committed by an adult, would have been felonies.
Photographs of the crime scene released by the police clearly showed a handgun in Scott’s hand, and a cheap—and empty–ankle holster for that handgun strapped to Scott’s ankle, his pant leg pulled up to access it. There were, of course, the usual claims that Scott was unarmed, etc., including by his wife, who was nearby, and can be heard on video yelling at Scott “don’t do it.” I also added:
It’s possible other evidence that could, in some way, contradict what for the moment appears to be more than adequate justification for the shooting may materialize, but until then, if the point of the ‘protests’ is to call attention to injustice, one can only conclude that to the protestors, the BLM and social justice cracktivists, and the Obama Administration, facts don’t matter. After all, nothing engenders support for a social cause quite like looting a WalMart, randomly attacking innocents, damaging and destroying property, arson, murder, disrupting a community for days on end, and stirring up absolutely unnecessary and unjustifiable hatred.
In Charlotte, The Run On Guns, And The Rule OF Law, I wrote of a phenomena common to communities, and more and more, the nation, after lawless protests of legitimate police actions:
The people of Charlotte are buying guns, for the moment, against the immediate and very real threat of out-of-control, racist mobs. But Americans will continue to arm themselves against those determined to fundamentally transform America into the kinds of failing and failed pseudo-Marxist states in the headlines. When Americans become convinced the rule of law is dead, they’ll need every gun and every cartridge.
In Charlotte: Video And The Reality Of Gunfights, I presented photographic evidence, and explained that gunfights in the real world are nothing at all like fictional depictions. Scott confronted the officers with a loaded, off-safe single action handgun in his hand. My analysis concluded the officers acted entirely within the law:
If the facts and evidence of the case continue to follow the general outline currently available in the media, there seems little doubt the officers not only acted lawfully, but with tactical soundness. Gunfights aren’t games with sets of refereed rules. They are blindingly fast, ugly, bloody and deadly. No one, including the police, is required to wait until they’ve been shot to prevent being shot, though there are professional racial hustlers and politicians that want essentially that.
In Charlotte: Media Makes A Social Justice Omelet, I exposed CNN’s manipulation of imagery to try to suggest the officers murdered Scott. I began:
There is a long and dishonorable tradition of Lamestream media deceptively editing video and audio. It is always done in the service of progressive ideology. If the facts won’t support a properly progressive narrative, a bit of electronic alteration can bend the facts to the narrative. Fortunately, the kinds of people that do such things tend not to be very bright, and they are usually exposed. Sometimes, they’re even fired, but not nearly often enough.
In cases like this, even though everything available to the public indicates the officers acted lawfully, it is always possible evidence not in the public domain may compel another conclusion. Unfortunately for social justice cracktivists, that was not the case, as Fox News reports:
A Charlotte police officer who shot and killed a black man at an apartment complex will not face charges, a North Carolina prosecutor announced Wednesday.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg District Attorney Andrew Murray said Officer Brentley Vinson’s actions in killing Keith Lamont Scott were justified.
‘We cannot know what Scott’s intention was that day,’ Murray said.
Scott’s family has said he was not armed.
However, at a lengthy news conference Murray displayed a nearby store’s surveillance video showing the outline of what appeared to be a holstered gun on Scott’s ankle, and he gave extensive details about other evidence that Scott was armed.
That it took more than two months for the police and DA to reach a decision, which is obviously based on all of the evidence, should be reassuring to everyone. There was no rush to judgment based on political concerns, and all evidence was gathered, analyzed, and available before a charging decision was made. This is as it should–it must–be.
Scott’s family has said he did not have a gun, but detectives recovered a firearm at the scene, police said.
At a Wednesday news conference, Murray played a nearby store’s surveillance video that appeared to show the outline of a gun in a holster on Scott’s right ankle.
Body camera and dashcam recordings released earlier by the police department did not conclusively show that and city officials were criticized for the length of time it took to release police video of the shooting.
Scott’s final moments also were recorded by his wife, Rakeyia, in a video shared widely on social media. She can be heard shouting to police that her husband “doesn’t have a gun.” She pleads with the officers not to shoot before a burst of gunfire can be heard.
The shooting led to two nights of violent protests, including a fatal shooting in downtown Charlotte the next night. The unrest gave way to several more days of largely peaceful demonstrations, and the city instituted a curfew for multiple nights.
The Charlotte Police also made a very wise decision:
In October, police in North Carolina’s largest city invited the Police Foundation, an independent, nonpartisan organization based in Washington, D.C., to review its policies and procedures following the shooting.
The foundation has done similar reviews elsewhere, assessing police in St. Louis County, Missouri, after the unrest in Ferguson, and analyzing the response to the terror attack in San Bernardino, California.
The case was among a series across the country since mid-2014 that has spurred a national debate over race and policing.
All police agencies should have cooperative agreements with competent outside agencies. When an officer-involved shooting takes place, those outside agencies must assume control of the investigation. This will never convince or silence racist agitators like BLM, but will help make such groups irrelevant when most citizens realize the results of such investigations can be trusted.
Deaths of other unarmed black males at the hands of law enforcement officers have inspired protests under the ‘Black Lives Matter’ moniker.
Perhaps, except Scott was not an “unarmed black male.” One normally expects better of Fox.
The Black Lives Matter movement traces its roots to the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012, and gained national ground after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.
As regular readers know, the Martin case (archive here) was an entirely different situation. No police officers were involved, and it was, from the start, a classic and unremarkable case of self-defense turned into a circus for racist, political reasons. The Michael Brown case (archive here) involved an unarmed black male only because he failed in his attempt to take the officer’s handgun, and was shot during a berserker charge on the badly beaten officer. All of the BLM social justice narratives about both cases were lies, just as the narrative in the Scott case was a lie.
Despite the many lies told about this case, the right decision, based on fact, evidence and the law, was reached. That will not, of course, have any effect on the social justice narrative, and Kevin Scott will enter the pantheon of holy social justice martyrs. Brently Vinson may or may not be able to return to work in Charlotte. He will certainly have a target–even larger than for most police officers–on his back for the rest of his life. Perhaps, with the Age of Obama coming to a rapid conclusion, the rule of law may once again be the standard by which our society lives.