Today, Mecklenburg County District Attorney R. Andrew Murray announced he is not bringing charges against Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Officer Brentley Vinson for shooting and killing Keith Lamont Scott, 43, on September 20, 2016. Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) released the following statement:
The last moments of Mr. Scott’s life are yet another example of the tragedies that occur when an officer does not use de-escalation techniques that could be life-saving. What adds to the tragedy of Mr. Scott’s death is that we know that he was not the suspect officers were initially seeking to apprehend. Whether an individual is armed or unarmed, law enforcement officers must be trained to take all possible steps to preserve life during interactions with members of the public so that everyone is able to return to their loved ones alive.
While the decision not to charge Officer Vinson sadly demonstrates the considerable legal challenges to holding officers criminally accountable, it is our sincere hope that the police department will conduct an internal investigation to determine whether any policies were violated when Officer Vinson and other law enforcement officers approached Mr. Scott that fateful day.
LDF will continue to engage in work that speaks to the critical need for police accountability and improved relations between police officers and communities through our Policing Reform Campaign. We will continue to promote unbiased and responsible policing practices by advocating for:
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.