The Charlotte Killing That Sparked Civic Unrest Began With a Joint

The chain of events that led to the death of Keith Lamont Scott at the hands of Charlotte Metropolitan Police Department (CMPD) officers and days of civic unrest in North Carolina's largest city began with a joint, Charlotte police said Saturday.

the fateful, fatal joint (CMPD)
That makes Scott the 38th person to die in domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

In an official statement posted on the CMPD's Facebook page and during a press conference last Saturday afternoon announcing that the department was releasing some police body- and dash-cam videos of the fatal encounter, Charlotte police laid out a timeline of what occurred:

Two plain clothes officers were sitting inside of their unmarked police vehicle preparing to serve an arrest warrant in the parking lot of The Village at College Downs, when a white SUV pulled in and parked beside of them.

The officers observed the driver, later identified as Mr. Keith Lamont Scott, rolling what they believed to be a marijuana "blunt." Officers did not consider Mr. Scott's drug activity to be a priority at the time and they resumed the warrant operation. A short time later, Officer Vinson observed Mr. Scott hold a gun up.

Because of that, the officers had probable cause to arrest him for the drug violation and to further investigate Mr. Scott being in possession of the gun.

Due to the combination of illegal drugs and the gun Mr. Scott had in his possession, officers decided to take enforcement action for public safety concerns…

And Keith Scott ended up dead. According to his family, he was in his vehicle waiting for his son to get off the school bus. But because he was rolling a joint while waiting, and because police just happened to be engaged in an operation nearby, he caught the attention of the cops.

Even when police said they saw him hold up a gun, they used the joint-rolling as probable cause to investigate the presence of the gun. If not for marijuana prohibition, the whole unraveling of events, with dire consequences for Keith Scott, and lamentable ones for the city of Charlotte, most likely would never have occurred.

Charlotte, NC
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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LEAP_Speaker's picture

Police Still Should Have Made Contact

The article says "If not for marijuana prohibition, the whole unraveling of events, with dire consequences for Keith Scott, and lamentable ones for the city of Charlotte, most likely would never have occurred".

I disagree...

Even without marijuana prohibition, the guy was going to drive again after rolling or smoking the joint and for some reason held up a handgun at a school bus stop. If it had been a beer and a handgun while picking up your kid at a school bus stop, the officers would have contacted the guy.

There are bad police and bad stops where someone is stopped for no reason, but this is not one of those. Even without the marijuana, any officer today who see someone hold up a handgun at a school bus stop needs to be contacted by law enforcement. 

...except, they were plainclothes cops

Except for the fact that they were plainclothes cops.  And it seems reasonable to assume that, from his point of view, he didn't know they were cops, but he might have known they were behaving with purposeful aggression.  Perhaps he wouldn't have allowed his weapon to be visible if he hadn't seen them acting weird, and all tripping over the fact that he was rolling a joint.

Joint?

You say "the guy was going to drive again after rolling or smoking the joint...". How could the cops even know it was a joint? With the high cost of cigarettes, many people roll their own. Also you are apparently saying that 2nd amendment rights do not apply any time you are near a bus stop.  

Why and How

I don't believe police stories. I don't believe suspects' stories, either.

This being the case, I must assume Scott was a drug dealer paying off the police and he had fallen behind in his payments. The cops made an example of him.

They made up the cover story too, of course.

Liars

The cops' tale of PC is nonsense.  Why would he have "held up a gun"?  I'd bet they were acting on the word of a snitch.  Without snitches, cops would makes so few arrests that their drug war would grind to a halt.

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