CMPD asks for independent review of Keith Scott shooting

-- Chief Kerr Putney is asking for an independent review of the policies and procedures of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department following the shooting by an officer of Keith Lamont Scott last month.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Chief Kerr Putney is asking for an independent review of the policies and procedures of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department following the shooting by an officer of Keith Lamont Scott last month.

That shooting touched off days of sometimes-violent demonstrations and protests in Charlotte.

Putney says the review will be done by the Police Foundation, an independent, non-governmental research organization based in Washington, D.C.

In an interview with NBC Charlotte's Rad Berky, Putney said he asked for the review because it is not only a time of healing now, but a time to find solutions that build trust between officers and the community.

"I am all about trying to improve our organization," said the Chief.

He said it would be a top-to-bottom look at the Department.

RELATED: Full CMPD video released in Keith Scott shooting

"From how we engage with the public to a critical incident September 20, the aftermath, and now recommendations about how we chart the path going forward."

The review will encompass the department's training of officers in how to de-escalate situations like the shooting of Scott.

Putney said, however, that not everyone understands when de-escalation can work.

Said Putney, "You have to be able to establish communication to de-escalate. Our posture matters as well, but what people want it to jump to the outcome and say, 'But for de-escalation.' It's a bit more nuanced than that."

Mayor Jennifer Roberts tweeted the first word about the request for a review, even before the department announced it.

The Mayor has said some of the city's response to the Scott shooting and released of the video from body and dash cams, was in her word, "unacceptable."

Asked how his relationship is now with Roberts, Putney answered, "She is the Mayor. I'm the Police Chief, so I am going to do my job professionally as this organization has been doing, and she is going to do her role leading the city as the Mayor."

The Scott shooting investigation has been turned over to the State Bureau of Investigation, and Putney said he did not know how long it would take to complete the investigation.

He said he had been told it would be weeks and not months.

CMPD says that various interest and advocacy groups have presented Putney with lists of recommendations following the Scott shooting. Putney and his staff are currently reviewing those and released a list of steps he is committed to taking. 

  • Solidify and make public the department's procedure for releasing body worn camera footage, so there is a consistent and transparent process moving forward. 
  • Continue making preparations to equip tactical officers with body worn cameras. Patrol officers and tactical officers will wear body worn cameras both while working on and off duty assignments, as soon as additional cameras are purchased and officers are trained.
  • Continue discussing the possibility of subpoena powers for the Citizens Review Board with its External Advisory Committee. Note: This change would require legislative action.
  • Review policies, procedures and training related to de-escalation techniques. We will continue to refine our response to protest situations, emphasizing communication with lawful protesters through the use of bicycle and regularly-uniformed officers. CMPD will continue to authorize the use of protective equipment only in response to violence, property damage and non-compliance.

The Police Foundation was established by the Ford Foundation as a result of the President's Commission on the Challenge of Crime in a Free Society. It is the oldest nationally known, non-profit, non-partisan, and non-membership-driven organization dedicated to improving policing. 

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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