We may never see body camera footage of Keith Lamont Scott's shooting

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Body camera footage could answer one of the biggest questions about the death of Keith Lamont Scott at the hands of a North Carolina police officer on Tuesday. But, that footage has yet to be released —and, thanks to a restrictive new state law that takes effect in week's time, it may take a court order to get it seen at all.

Scott, 43, was shot by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Brentley Vinson on September 20. Police were attempting to serve a warrant on someone else when, they claim, Scott exited his car with a gun. Believing he posed an "imminent deadly threat," they shot him. A woman who claims to be Scott's daughter, however, posted on Facebook that Scott was picking up his son up from a school bus stop, armed with nothing more than a book he was reading as he waited, when police confronted him. Scott's death comes just days after another black man in Tulsa was shot dead by police as, it appeared in footage from the shooting, his hands were up.

Photos from the second night of protests after Keith Lamont Scott's death:

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Second night of protests in Charlotte, North Carolina after police shootings
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Second night of protests in Charlotte, North Carolina after police shootings
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: People put cargo from tractor trailers on a fire on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests in the early hours of September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The protests began last night, following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott by a police officer at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: A police officer attempts to extinguish a fire on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
People gather in front of the Ritz-Carlton in uptown Charlotte, NC during a protest of the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A window at City Smoke is smashed in uptown Charlotte, NC during a protest of the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek
A man stands on a car in uptown Charlotte, NC to protest the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Two people sit on the ground as they protest in front of police in uptown Charlotte, NC during a protest of the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek
A man peers through the damage to the Hyatt House hotel in uptown Charlotte, NC that happened during a protest of the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek
People run from flash-bang grenades in uptown Charlotte, NC during a protest of the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Demonstrators march against the Charlotte police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People maneuver amongst tear gas in uptown Charlotte, NC during a protest of the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek
Protesters smash a police van in uptown Charlotte, NC during a protest of the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek
Protesters march during a demonstration against police brutality in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 21, 2016, following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott the previous day. A protester in Charlotte, North Carolina was fatally shot by a civilian during a second night of unrest after the police killed a black man, officials said. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters face riot police during a demonstration against police brutality in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 21, 2016, following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott the previous day. A protester shot during a second night of unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina on was critically wounded, the city said, after earlier reporting that the person had died. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters face riot police during a demonstration against police brutality in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 21, 2016, following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott the previous day. A protester shot during a second night of unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina on was critically wounded, the city said, after earlier reporting that the person had died. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters face riot police during a demonstration against police brutality in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 21, 2016, following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott the previous day. A protester shot during a second night of unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina on was critically wounded, the city said, after earlier reporting that the person had died. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters face riot police during a demonstration against police brutality in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 21, 2016, following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott the previous day. A protester shot during a second night of unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina on was critically wounded, the city said, after earlier reporting that the person had died. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters face riot police during a demonstration against police brutality in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 21, 2016, following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott the previous day. A protester shot during a second night of unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina on was critically wounded, the city said, after earlier reporting that the person had died. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Protestors march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Protestors march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Protestors march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Protesters tend to a seriously wounded protester in the parking area of the the Omni Hotel during a march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Residents gather for a vigil and march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Residents gather for a vigil and march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Residents gather for a vigil and march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Residents gather for a vigil and march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Residents gather for a vigil and march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Residents gather for a vigil and march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Residents gather for a vigil and march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Students take part in a lie-in at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 21, 2016 in protest against police brutality following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott nearby the previous day. The mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina appealed for calm Wednesday after a night of violent protests and looting sparked by the fatal police shooting of a black man said to have been armed with a handgun. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Students take part in a lie-in at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 21, 2016 in protest against police brutality following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. The mayor of Charlotte appealed for calm Wednesday after a night of violent protests and looting sparked by the fatal police shooting of a black man said to have been armed with a handgun. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Police officers hold their line during protests on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Police officers remove a man from his vehicle on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Protestors block traffic on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: People block traffic on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests in the early hours of September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The protests began last night, following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott by a police officer at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Police officers face off with protestors on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
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In that case, Tulsa released footage from the incident. Charlotte-Mecklenburg has yet to do this. While Vinson was in plainclothes and not wearing a body camera, other officers on the scene were wearing body cams and there is dashboard camera footage of the incident. Investigators are reviewing that footage, but it could take a lot longer for the general public to have that same chance, if it ever happens. CMPD chief Kerr Putney has said that a gun was found at the scene of the shooting, but he also claims state law prevents him from releasing the video that could either back up CMPD's version of events or directly contradict them.

That isn't quite true. North Carolina does have a controversial state law that would require a court order to release the video. The request can be denied for several reasons and would take time to wind its way through the system. This is a law that Putney himself opposed because, he told the Charlotte Observer back in April, "Here's my issue with giving all discretion to a chief of police: Most human nature is for me to show those videos that present the best image for me. I'm not going to put myself in that position. I am human. I'm going to have other people weigh in."

Now he's saying his hands are tied and he can't release the video because of a law that doesn't actually go into effect until October 1. The North Carolina ACLU, in a statement asking that the footage be released as soon as possible, pointed out that it is still September, and so therefore a law that takes effect in October is not in effect now. The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP has also requested that the footage be released, as has the Charlotte Observer.

Source: Graphiq

But North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, who signed the body camera bill into law (a law that, again, is not yet in effect) told CNN that videos don't "always tell the whole story" and "can also be abused." He also said that he had a duty to protect the constitutional rights of police officers, even though courts have traditionally ruled, when it comes to civilian videos of police interactions, that police officers have no right to privacy when doing their jobs in a public place. As Jezebel noted, when pressed by CNN on the body camera issue, McCrory suddenly had important business elsewhere and quickly ended the conversation.

When an incident with two vastly different narratives is causing social unrest — to the point that a state of emergency has been declared, multiple police officers and civilians have been injured, and one person is on life support due to injuries suffered during protests — it's hard to justify holding back evidence that could clear Vinson and the CMPD's name and end those protests (provided that the police's version of events is what actually happened). North Carolina's restrictive police footage law, once only theoretically problematic and a bar to transparency, has proven to be so in reality. And it isn't even in effect yet.

The post We May Never See Body Camera Footage Of Keith Lamont Scott's Shooting appeared first on Vocativ.

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