Meck DA: Officers were in imminent danger

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Mecklenburg County District Attorney spent more than an hour going through the Keith Scott case, and bottom line, he says there is no doubt Scott had a gun and the officer felt like he was in imminent danger.

Fifteen prosecutors, Dozens of SBI agents, and hundreds of man hours is what the DA says went into determining that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer Bentley Vinson acted lawfully, in self-defense, when he shot and killed Keith Scott back in September.

Andrew Murray said, "After a thorough review, Officer Vinson acted lawfully when he shot Mr. Scott."

The DA spent an hour outlining the case and Officer Vinson’s right to shoot.

"What he saw was a man who had drawn a gun when confronted by police, exited [the] vehicle with [a] gun in hand and failed to comply with officers who command him at least 10 times to put the gun down.”

For the first time, we saw some of the evidence-- including convenience store video that the DA says shows Scott minutes before the shooting with the gun and holster on his leg.

"The bulge you can see here is consistent with the holster and gun later described by officers and located at the scene."

Andrew Murray says all four officers saw the gun and describe Scott as being in a "trance-like" state from the medications he was on.

And while he admits Scott didn’t raise the gun, he says the officers still faced imminent danger.

"The reality is that Mr. Scott could have raised his gun and killed Officer Vinson or another before any of them could have reacted to the threat."

Still, Murray says he knows some will be frustrated by the decision not to charge the young CMPD officer and is hoping that releasing the case file online will help."

"I'd like the community to take a collective pause, read the report, digest it, please do not act viscerally on news snippets, read the report."

The DA says he is hopeful there will be a peaceful response to Wednesday's announcement, but also a lot of careful thought.

"I do not condone violence or property damage, but the fact that criminal charges are not appropriate under the law, in this case, does not mean we can dismiss concerns by those who raised their voices."

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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