BP 4 Keith Scott’s Death – Negligent Obedience?

Summary:

North Carolina has received quite the coverage as of lately due to the Charlotte riots in response to the recent police brutality incidents.  This post will specifically analyze Keith Scott’s death.  Originally called onto the scene to serve a neighbor a search warrant, police officers passed Scott in his car while he seemed to be “rolling up a marijuana cigarette”.  They shortly returned afterwards and thought they saw a firearm in Scott’s hand.  They left to retrieve vests and soon came back to find Scott still holding what they believed to be a gun.  According to the four pieces of video footage, it is unclear as to if Scott really had a gun on him or not.  In the video his wife recorded with her cellphone, she says “He doesn’t have a gun, he has a T.B.I. He’s not going to do anything to you guys.” When Mr. Scott did not follow their orders, the department said, Officer Vinson “perceived Mr. Scott’s actions and movements as an imminent physical threat to himself and the other officers” and opened fire.

Ethical Analysis:

In class we talked about the professional responsibility of following the rules.  In this case, I feel that there was a strong sense of negligent obedience.  The officers failed to do everything they possibly could to de-escalate the situation and rather escalated the situation to heights that could have been easily avoided.  Along with this, policies were broken as far as body cams on officers.  It is said that Scott had a gun on him, but there is not a single shot of footage that proves he actually did.  According to the police statement a gun was retrieved but shows no evidence as to where it was found, instead, the gun lays on the cement and apparently “has Scott’s fingerprints” on it.  I feel as if the officers lacked a sense of professionalism for not doing everything they were supposed to do, or in other words, ‘following the rules’.  For example, there were 4 videos that were released with different perspectives of the situation.  One specific camera did not start recording clearly until after the deed had been done.  If the officer knew that his body cam must be on during significant situations, shouldn’t that go against him for not following the rules he’s been given as an officer?  It is believed in some cases that both the gun and fault body cam recordings were “plotted” in order to save the officers from a guilty charge.  If the video would have recorded the entire situation, it would have been able to shed some light on Scott’s death.

 

Sources:

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