On Wednesday, a North Carolina prosecutor announced that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Brentley Vinson, who is also Black, “acted lawfully” and will not be charged for shooting and killing 43-year-old Scott, NBC reports. As you may recall, the September shooting sparked nationwide protests and gained national notoriety after Scott’s wife, Rakeyia, shared cell phone video she took of the moments leading up to the killing.
According to USA Today, a team of 15 career prosecutors made the decision unanimously based on the legal definition of what justifies the use of deadly force for self-defense. Attorney Andrew Murray announced at a news conference, “It is my opinion that Officer Vinson acted lawfully when he shot Mr. Scott. He acted lawfully.”
Murray, who showed reporters surveillance video of Scott going into a nearby convenience store with a gun minutes before his death, also revealed that a bullet was later found to be in the gun — which was stolen and illegally sold to Scott years prior.
During the news conference, the attorney begged the community to be understanding of his team’s decision not to press charges. He said, “We took a lot of painstaking effort to make certain that there was no personal bias in the review. Public opinion did not factor in our determination. I’d like the community to take a collective pause.”
Lawyers for Scott’s family said they will continue to investigate the case and could file a civil suit.