Two months after protests rocked Charlotte in the wake of an African-American’s shooting death at the hands of police, the city’s police department is preparing for more.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers are being told to expect a return to emergency staffing in the last week in November, where many officers work shifts of 12 hours on and 12 hours off, several sources tell the Agenda.
That’s in anticipation of a decision on whether to charge Officer Brentley Vinson, the officer who police say shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott near his home in September. CMPD said that officers approached Scott after witnessing him inside his car holding a gun and possessing marijuana. Both Scott and Vinson were black.
That night, and several days after, were marked with protests that occasionally turned violent.
A decision on whether to charge Vinson currently rests in the hands of the Mecklenburg County district attorney’s office. A spokeswoman confirmed that the case is under review but declined to give a timetable for a decision. She said the office would not be giving updates on the status of the review.
There is precedent for a CMPD officer to be charged. In 2013, Officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick was arrested the day after fatally shooting Jonathan Ferrell, who was seeking help after being in car accident. Kerrick’s case ended in a mistrial after his legal team convinced several members of the jury that there was a possibility Ferrell was going after Kerrick’s gun.
This case has several differences that make it more likely that Vinson will not be charged. CMPD Chief Kerr Putney has consistently defended the police department’s actions in the shooting of Scott and called Scott an “imminently deadly threat.”
Protestors who organized in September have not announced any plans on whether or how they would demonstrate if officials decline to charge Vinson. Several small protests were seen in Charlotte after N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper declined to pursue a retrial against Kerrick.
A CMPD spokesman declined comment.