Tuesday, December 6, 2016

People Who Did Not See Keith Lamont Scott Being Killed

On September 20, 2016, an African-American named Keith Lamont Scott was shot to death in an encounter with five police officers in Charlotte, North Carolina. Essentially, the officers shot Scott because he threatened them with a loaded firearm. (The Wikipedia article about the incident is here.)

On November 30, District Attorney Andrew Murray announced that the officers were justified in shooting Scott and therefore would not be charged. The District Attorney's office published a 20-page report titled The Keith Lamont Scott Death Investigation, which provided the following details (emphasis added) about false witnesses who lied that they saw Scott being murdered by the police officers as he was walking away or trying to surrender.

False Witness Tahesha Williams
Williams said to the media: “I actually saw the shooting.” In interviews that aired on local television and Al Jazeera, Williams claimed Scott was unarmed with his hands raised, asking officers, “What is the problem? What did I do? What’s wrong?” when he was shot by a white, bald-headed police officer. She also said there were no black police officers present during the shooting and that the first black officer did not arrive at the scene until 10-15 minutes later. Williams told the media Scott had a black book and that she saw Scott step over the book – with his hands raised – after it fell off his lap. 
* On September 23, 2016, Williams told the SBI [State Bureau of Investigation] that she did not see the shooting
* She told the SBI that she was sitting on the couch, watching television, with the volume turned up loud and never saw Keith Scott until she went outside her apartment after the shooting. 
* She told the SBI she did not see a book or a gun at the scene when she went outside. ...
[Pages 9-10]
False Witness Tracy McLean
McLean gave a media interview on September 21, 2016, claiming that she was an eyewitness to the shooting. She stated that Scott was shot by a white police officer in a red shirt, and she said Officer Vinson wasn’t anywhere around. 
* On September 26, 2016, McLean told the SBI she did not see the shooting but did hear officers yelling, “Drop the gun.” 
[Page 11]
False Witness "John Doe 3"
This witness is a juvenile and was interviewed in the presence of his mother by the CMPD [Charlotte Municipal Police Department] and the SBI. He said he observed the incident from his bedroom window and later from a sliding glass door in his living room. 
* On the evening of September 20, 2016, this witness told CMPD that .... Scott was reading a book on the date of the incident and that Scott kept reading as the officers attempted to break the SUV’s window. He said Scott eventually put the book down and exited the SUV empty-handed. He said Scott’s hands were empty and “wide open” and that Scott walked toward officers and then turned and started going toward Scott’s SUV. According to this witness, “I’m pretty sure it was [the white officer because] like he was the one I could really, really see cause he wasn’t by no trees or nothing.” He also said that when Scott was in his SUV, “you could see the book and the pages on it.” 
* On September 26, 2016, this witness told the SBI that ...  officers said “stop,” and Scott stopped. There was a 30-second pause, and then officers said they were going to use a Taser on Scott. “Then they tased him,” he said. At this point, in response to the agent’s question, he clarifies that he did not, in fact, see Scott get “tased.” Instead, he heard that it happened from someone’s claim in a YouTube video. ... At the end of his interview, when asked by an agent whether he heard the police say anything about a gun after Scott exited his vehicle, he said the police did not say anything when he got out of his vehicle. He claimed everyone “got quiet.” 
* Investigators took photographs from this witness’ vantage point. The photos show that it would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for the witness to have seen all that he described. 
* This witness’ vantage point was from the passenger side of the SUV. All of his observations of the incident would have been made not only through the obstruction of a large tree but also through Scott’s SUV. 
* During his interviews, when asked to clarify parts of his statement, it becomes apparent that this witness incorporated information he heard from other sources as part of his eyewitness account. These sources include Scott’s family members, other residents of the neighborhood and YouTube videos concerning the shooting. .... 
[Pages 10-11]
False Witness "John Doe 4"
This witness was interviewed by the SBI because he left a voicemail with the CMPD, saying he saw the shooting and that officers must have planted the gun. He claimed he saw the shooting from 14 feet away, Scott did not have a gun and the police were involved in a cover-up. 
* When interviewed by the SBI, this witness admitted he did not see the shooting. He denied leaving the voicemail and claimed someone else must have used his phone. Further investigation showed that he was in the State of Nebraska when the shooting occurred. 
[Page 12]
The same kind of lying happened after the killing of Michael Brown. Various people lied that they saw Michael Brown standing still, raising his hands and pleading to surrender as a police officer shot him to death. 

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