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Charlotte Police release video From Keith Lamont Scott shooting

Elizabeth Chuck
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney, right, and Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts field questions from the media September 22, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Protests began on Tuesday night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte.
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Charlotte police on Saturday released portions of bodycam and dashcam footage and other information related to the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, bowing to public pressure after initially refusing to share any video.

"I have decided that we're at a stage where I can release additional information without adversely impacting [the State Bureau of Investigation's] investigation," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said at a news conference Saturday afternoon. "Prior to this point, it would have had an impact."

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The videos were released at around 6:35 p.m. Putney stressed that the new footage won't show Scott holding the gun police say he was brandishing — a point of contention with family members who have argued he didn't have a weapon.

"The footage will not prove anything true or not it, only can support the physical evidence," he said, adding that new evidence as a whole would provide "the most complete puzzle" that police could offer.

Putney said other portions of the video not released were not relevant to the shooting.

People gather at the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets in uptown Charlotte, N.C., to protest the police shooting of Keith Scott, Sept. 21, 2016.
Jason Miczek | Reuters

The reversal comes a day after NBC News obtained cellphone video taken by Scott's wife, Rakeyia, through a family attorney in which she begs with officers not to shoot her husband as they surround his pickup truck. It does not show the shooting itself.

Protesters, who have held nightly demonstrations in North Carolina's largest city since Scott was shot by officers on Tuesday, have demanded police release bodycam and dashcam footage of 43-year-old Scott's final moments.

But the State Bureau of Investigation, which took over the case, said earlier it wouldn't release police video for fear of compromising its review.

Putney said Saturday that now that he is certain releasing the video wouldn't affect the investigation, he decided to do so because he felt that it was "in the community's best interest."

He also told reporters Saturday Scott was in possession of marijuana when officers approached him, something that hadn't been previously revealed. That discovery, plus the weapon police say he had, made him an imminent threat, Putney said.

Protestors put cargo from tractor trailers onto a fire on I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests in the early hours of September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Getty Images

"Obviously there's more work to be done," Putney said of the case. "In the spirit of transparency you're going to get everything that we can deliver, facts, footage and an explanation of where we are today."

Putney before Saturday said police wouldn't release its videos, although the ones he watched didn't show "absolute, definitive, visual evidence" that Scott brandished a weapon at the officers.

The Scott family was permitted to view the police video Thursday. Family attorney Justin Bamberg said after viewing it that "it is impossible to discern from the videos what, if anything, Mr. Scott is holding in his hands."

Police were at the condominium complex where Scott was sitting in his car to serve a warrant on someone else.

They said they saw Scott holding a gun as he exited his truck and then return to his car before he exited again. At that point, police said, they shot Scott after he became threatening and refused to listen to their commands to put the weapon down. But some in Scott's family insisted he didn't have a weapon.

"He doesn't have a gun. He has a TBI [traumatic brain injury]," Rakeyia Scott says in the video that she took. "He's not going to do anything to you guys. He just took his medicine."

Brentley Vinson, the plainclothes officer who fired the fatal shots at Scott, was not wearing a bodycam, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. But three other officers who were at the scene were.

Gov. Pat McCrory, who declared a state of emergency after the protests became violent again Wednesday, said in a statement that he agreed with Putney's decision to release footage.

"I have been assured by the State Bureau of Investigation that the release will have no material impact on the independent investigation since most of the known witnesses have been interviewed," he said.

Earlier Saturday, the NAACP in Charlotte joined the calls for police to share the footage, calling it "video that is ours."

While officials have said the city won't be releasing the video to the public at the moment, Congresswoman Alma Adams, a Democrat whose district includes parts of Charlotte, said doing so is "the only thing I think that's going to help."

"I think the families feel, many people in the community feel that there's information there that they need to be privy to," Adams said on MSNBC.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday that the Justice Department is "assessing the incident."

Federal authorities this week opened a separate investigation into the shooting of an unarmed black man by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma.