The following summary of the shooting in Charlotte is brought to us by Paul Mirengoff writing on the powerlineblog.com. It’s a hat trick by Mr. Mirengoff in that I’ve brought together three of his articles in order to give our readers a solid overview of the Charlotte shooting and events that followed. Garnet92.
We wrote here about Keith Lamont Scott and his long criminal record which includes assault convictions and gun offenses. But what about Brentley Vinson, the black police officer who fatally shot Scott?
The Charlotte Observer provides this profile of Officer Vinson. From it, we learn that he grew up in Charlotte, was a football star in high school, and dreamed of becoming a police officer like his father.
Vinson was all-conference in football as a high school junior, but was unable to play during his senior year due to a serious knee injury. The next year, he played at a prep school, earning a scholarship to Liberty University.
At Liberty, Vinson studied criminal justice. He became a captain of the football team and led it in tackles as a senior in 2012.
In 2014, Vinson joined the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police force. He has not been subject to any disciplinary action, according to personnel records released by the police department.
What kind of a guy is Vinson. His middle school football coach said this about him:
I thought when he became a police officer like his dad (Alex) that it was a perfect fit for him. I’ve watched this kid work his butt off from an early age. He’s a phenomenal kid and happens to be in an unfortunate situation right now, and I hate to see him be in the middle of it and being vilified the way he is.
Vinson’s high school football coach was equally effusive. He says that after Vinson returned to Charlotte, he would often ask his former star to come and speak to his players. At one point, Vinson mentored a player who had suffered a knee injury similar to the one that kept Vinson off the field his senior year.
The coach concluded:
We need more Brent Vinsons, that type of person, in our communities. . .He’s a natural leader and one of those guys who always had the best interest of others before himself.
The coach was quick to add that he doesn’t know the events surrounding the shooting of Scott. And, though it seems highly implausible that Vinson shot Scott for no reason, we cannot conclude from Vinson’s exemplary past that he acted properly on this occasion.
But we can conclude that Vinson’s ambition was to serve and protect the citizens of his home town, not to kill black men without justification. We can also say that it’s awful to see this promising young black man vilified before the facts are in.
SLAIN CHARLOTTE MAN HAD LENGTHY CRIMINAL RECORD
The friends and family of Keith Lamont Scott, the Charlotte man killed by police this week, portray him as a “family man” and “likable.” This may be true.
However, Scott also had a long police record that included gun violations. Buried deep in this Charlotte Observer story, we learn:
Scott was convicted in April 2004 of a misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon charge in Mecklenburg County. Other charges stemming from that date were dismissed: felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and misdemeanors assault on a child under 12, assault on a female and communicating threats.
In April 2015 in Gaston County Court, Scott was found guilty of driving while intoxicated.
In 1992, Scott was charged in Charleston County, S.C., with several different crimes on different dates, including carrying a concealed weapon (not a gun), simple assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He pleaded guilty to all charges.
Scott also was charged with aggravated assault in 1992 and assault with intent to kill in 1995. Both charges were reduced, but the disposition of the cases is unclear.
And there is this:
According to Bexar County, Texas, records, Scott was sentenced in March 2005 to 15 months in a state jail for evading arrest. In July of that year, records show, he was sentenced to seven years in prison on a conviction of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. A Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman said Scott completed his sentence and was released from prison in 2011.
None of this means, necessarily, that Scott had a gun when the police killed him or that the police reasonably felt threatened by him. But Scott’s record makes it all the more unfair to assume — as the Charlotte protesters do, explicitly or implicitly — that claims by the police that he was armed and potentially dangerous are untrue.
INTENSE VIOLENCE IN CHARLOTTE FOLLOWS POLICE SHOOTING
Protesters in Charlotte, North Carolina have engaged in violence on a large scale following the lethal shooting by police of an African-American. According to the Charlotte Observer, 16 police officers were injured last night in a series of clashes. In addition, there are reports of motorists on Interstate 85 being hurt and their vehicles damaged by rocks, bottles, and traffic cones hurled by protesters off interstate overpasses.
Even if the police shooting were unjustified, such violence should be condemned and vigorously suppressed. In this case, though, the protesters have no idea whether the shooting was unjustified. In the spirit of the times, they have seized upon the shooting as an excuse to attack not just the police, but citizens whose only offenses are (1) driving on the interstate and (2) more likely than not being white.
What are the key facts of the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott? We don’t know.
We do know the account of the police. They say that the officer who shot Scott is African-American. They also say that officers had been searching for someone who had an outstanding warrant when they saw Scott leave his car holding a gun.
According to the police, officers approached Scott after he got back into the car. He emerged from the car again armed with a firearm “and posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers, who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject.” Scott was not the person subject to the outstanding warrant.
If the police version is accurate, there should have been a gun at the scene of the shooting. They police say they found one. They also say that Scott was ordered to drop the gun but did not comply.
Those alleging wrongdoing by the police say that Scott was holding a book when he was shot. The police say they found no book, only the gun.
It’s too early to embrace the police account. Conceivably, a black police officer gunned down a black man for no reason. More plausibly, he may have overreacted to the situation or perceived it incorrectly. Maybe the police is covering up wrongdoing.
It’s also too early for anyone to be peacefully protesting the shooting. A shooting on the facts stated by the police would not justify any protest, and those facts appear not yet to be contradicted by evidence.
But not only are residents protesting, they are injuring police officers and motorists.
Such is life in the Age of Obama.
There you have it. Thanks to Mr. Mirengoff and Powerline, these are the salient points that are currently known about the incident.
It’s far too early in the investigative process to be sure that we know exactly what happened, but it’s also too early to condemn a police officer for his actions. But that hasn’t stopped the black agitators. When blacks riot and inflict damage because they are told that the police account is a lie, those inciting that violence should be held accountable. What started as, and should have remained, a peaceful protest escalated into thugs chanting “hands up, don’t shoot” and “black lives matter” as they damaged businesses and looted.
It appears that the black agitators will use the occasion of any black person shot for any reason to be elevated to iconic martyr status and for that to become a trigger for rioting and violence. Where was the period of peaceful protest while the facts of the incident are investigated? Instead, an immediate reaction of violence is called for by those who benefit from the agitation.
Unfortunately, our country seems to be heading towards more racial unrest. We need to investigate the beneficiaries of that unrest, it certainly is not ordinary black or white citizens, it is the race- baiters, the agitators whose celebrity is based on distrust and disharmony between the races. And Barack Obama is a willing co-conspirator.