Will the Charlotte police tapes of Keith Lamont Scott shooting be released to the public?


As protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, continue in the wake of the police shooting of 43-year-old Keith Scott, demonstrators have made one of their demands crystal clear: "Release the tapes." 

According to Reuters, these were the words protesters were chanting on the streets of Charlotte Thursday night. On Friday, Mayor Jennifer Roberts echoed these calls, saying, "I would like to have it released. I think it is only a matter of time." However, Roberts emphasized it isn't in her power to do so.

And while Scott's relatives were allowed to view footage of the fatal shooting, local authorities announced in a press conference Thursday that the video wouldn't be released to the public. 

"Transparency is in the eye of the beholder," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney told reporters, according to the Washington Post. "If you think I'm saying we should display a victim's worst day for public consumption, that is not the transparency I'm speaking of."

Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Still, much of the public remains insistent that police release the footage, especially following Scott's family's statement that seeing it provided them with "more questions than answers." 

According to NBC Charlotte, his family members reported seeing Scott follow orders from police in a "very calm, non-aggressive manner." Though they said it's "impossible to discern what, if anything" Scott was holding in his hands, at the time of his death he had his hands "by his side and he was slowly walking backwards."

The statement, provided by the family's legal representation, reads, "It was incredibly difficult for members of the Scott family to view those videos, but as a matter of the greater good and transparency, the Scott family asks that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department publicly immediately release both of the videos they watched today."

On top of the department's decline to release the footage showing Scott's death, the Post reported a new state law is slated to go into effect Oct. 1 making public release of body camera footage impossible without a court order.

Putney reiterated at Thursday's press conference regarding Scott: "You shouldn't expect it to be released."

Sept. 23, 2016, 12:18 p.m. Eastern: This story has been updated.