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Sept. 24 2016 7:59 PM

Police Release Body and Dash Cam Video of Keith Scott Shooting

Police on Saturday afternoon finally released video footage of the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott and the dramatic images are more notable for what they don’t show: there is no clearly visible gun and Scott doesn't raise any kind of weapon toward the officers. The snippet of body cam and dash cam footage that police released Saturday afternoon does show however that an officer repeatedly told Scott to drop his weapon before opening fire.

Just like Scott’s family had described, the dash cam video shows that Scott was walking backward slowly away from his SUV with his hands down at the time when four shots can be heard and he falls to the ground. Scott's wife can be heard in the dash cam video telling officers that he doesn't have a gun, as had been heard in the cell phone video the family released a day earlier.

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The body cam footage is very shaky and shows an officer with his gun pointing toward Scott’s SVU. The officer then moves to the other side of the SUV and Scott can be seen with his hands at his side standing outside his vehicle. Scott then goes out of the frame and when he is seen again, he has already been shot and is on the ground.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerry Putney said he had decided to release the videos after receiving assurances that it would not impact the ongoing investigations.

“Doing so prior to this point would have had a negative impact on the investigation,” he said. Still, there’s more video out there. Putney said that the police was only releasing “specific footage” that provides “visuals of what transpired.” So there is other footage that will be released at a later date although Putney insisted the video that was released include all the “pertinent” parts.

Protesters had been calling for the tapes to be released in the days following the shooting. The decision to actually release some of the footage was made a day after Hillary Clinton called for police to publish the video footage “without delay.”

In addition to the video snippets, police also released a statement laying out what led ot the shooting as well as photos of the handgun and "blunt" they say they recovered at the scene.

The police statement lays out the timeline of what happened, making it clear that it was Scott's possession of marijuana that pushed the officers to escalate the situation once they saw he also had a weapon. The statement also confirms earlier reports that Scott's DNA and fingerprints were found on the loaded gun that was at the scene. The full statement is below, as published by WCCB.

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Sept. 24 2016 7:03 PM

Marijuana Possession Played Key Role in Police Shooting of Keith Scott

Possession of marijuana played a significant role in the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerry Putney said during a news conference that officers were trying to serve a warrant for someone else when they spotted Scott rolling “what they believed to be a marijuana ‘blunt’" in his car. At first they allegedly didn’t think much of it, until they saw Scott had a weapon and thought, “uh oh, this is a safety issue for us and the public,” Putney said.

Putney spoke at a news conference in which he announced police would release body cam and dash cam videos of the encounter.

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Along with the videos, the police also released a statement on what is known about the case. Although at first “officers did not consider Mr. Scott’s drug activity to be a priority” that changed once they saw him hold up a gun. “Because of that, the officers had probable cause to arrest him for the drug violation and to further investigate Mr. Scott being in possession of the gun.”

The police released photographs of the gun, ankle holster and joint he had on him at the time of the shooting.

“It was not lawful for [Scott] to possess a firearm. There was a crime he committed and the gun exacerbated the situation,” Putney said. The press conference marked the first time law enforcement had mentioned the detail about the marijuana.

“Due to the combination of illegal drugs and the gun Mr. Scott had in his possession, officers decided to take enforcement action for public safety concerns,” notes the statement.

Putney continued to insist that Scott “absolutely” had a gun, although he acknowledged that wouldn’t be clear from the released video. He also stood by earlier statements that the shooting was justified and officers acted lawfully. “Officers are absolutely not being charged by me at this point,” he said.

The official police statement says officers “gave clear, loud and repeated verbal commands to drop the gun” but Scott “refused to follow the officers repeated verbal commands.” And then Scott “exited the vehicle with the gun and backed away from the vehicle while continuing to ignore officers’ repeated loud verbal commands to drop the gun.” That was seen as “an imminent physical threat” and an officer opened fire. A lab analysis “revealed the presence of Mr. Scott’s DNA and his fingerprints” on the gun that was loaded, notes the police statement.

Sept. 24 2016 6:31 PM

Gennifer Flowers Accepts Trump’s Invitation to Attend Debate

Within a period of hours, it went from being another one of Donald Trump’s low-blows to reality. Or at least what stands for reality when it comes to this very particular presidential campaign. Gennifer Flowers, who had a sexual relationship with Bill Clinton for years, said she is accepting Trump’s invitation to sit in the front row of the first presidential debate. It all began with a tweet, as these things often do when it comes to Trump.

"If dopey Mark Cuban of failed Benefactor fame wants to sit in the front row, perhaps I will put Jennifer Flowers right alongside of him!" Trump wrote on Saturday amid word that the Clinton campaign invited prominent Trump critic Cuban to sit in the front row on Monday. He quickly deleted the tweet only to write another one using the correct spelling of Flowers’ first name.

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Cuban quickly got in on the act, mocking Trump for once referring to the two of them as the “Bobbsey Twins.”

Things were set to end there until Flowers herself took to Twitter. “Hi Donald. You know I'm in your corner and will definitely be at the debate!” And apparently she wasn’t fibbing. Flowers’ assistant told BuzzFeed that she had accepted Trump’s invitation to sit in the front row on Monday. “Ms. Flowers has agreed to join Donald at the debate,” Judy Stell, Flowers’ personal assistant, wrote in an email to BuzzFeed.

The Trump campaign has yet to confirm whether the whole thing was for real.

Those organizing the debate say they will not allow anyone to sit in the front row if the entire purpose is to distract a candidate. "We are going to frown upon—I will tell you this right now—whether or not a Republican or Democrat or anyone else attempts by use of tickets in placing people in a front row or not to try to impact the debate. It is wrong," Fahrenkopf said on CNN. “We would frown upon Mr. Cuban being in the front row if his purpose is to somehow disrupt the debate; likewise, if Mr. Trump was going to put someone in the front row to try and impact things.”

Sept. 24 2016 3:40 PM

New York Times Endorses Hillary Clinton: “Country Should Put Her to Work”

The editorial board of the New York Times endorsed Hillary Clinton Saturday, describing her as “one of the most tenacious politicians of her generation.” The endorsement hardly comes as a surprise (the last Republican the paper endorsed was Dwight Eisenhower in 1956), but the editorial—which will appear in the paper’s print edition on Sunday—is notable because it is such a strong defense of Clinton’s record and experience. The Times says it will save for “a subsequent editorial why we believe Mr. Trump to be the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history.” That’s because “the best case for Hillary Clinton cannot be, and is not, that she isn’t Donald Trump.”

The paper’s editorial board makes clear that it is not trying to appeal to the people who already intend to vote for the Democratic candidate but rather “to persuade those of you who are hesitating to vote for Mrs. Clinton—because you are reluctant to vote for a Democrat, or for another Clinton, or for a candidate who might appear, on the surface, not to offer change from an establishment that seems indifferent and a political system that seems broken.”

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The editorial then goes on to say that Clinton’s record is her best asset, because it shows how she’s had “a lifetime’s commitment to solving problems in the real world.” The paper’s endorsement “is rooted in respect for her intellect, experience, toughness and courage over a career of almost continuous public service, often as the first or only woman in the arena.” The editorial does note that Clinton has shown “a lamentable penchant for secrecy” and “made a poor decision” when it came to her emails. But compared to the real problems the next president will have to face, “that email server, which has consumed so much of this campaign, looks like a matter for the help desk.”

The New York Times endorsement comes shortly after the Los Angeles Times also backed Clinton’s candidacy, calling the former secretary of state “one of the best prepared candidates to seek the presidency in many years.”

More surprising though was the Cincinnati Enquirer endorsing Clinton Friday afternoon, marking the first time the paper endorsed a Democrat in almost a century. “Our reservations about Clinton pale in comparison to our fears about Trump,” the paper’s editorial board wrote. The Cincinnati Enquirer became the latest traditionally conservative newspaper to endorse Clinton after the Dallas Morning News and Houston Chronicle also broke traditions of backing Republican candidates.

Sept. 24 2016 2:18 PM

Black Man Calls Baltimore Police For Help, Gets Punched in the Face, Dies in Hospital

Family members gathered on Friday for a vigil to remember Tawon Boyd, 21, who died in the hospital mere days after an altercation with police. It all began early Sunday morning of last week, when Boyd apparently called 911 requesting an ambulance because he was feeling disoriented, reports the Guardian. The operator even heard Boyd’s girlfriend say in the background that he needed medical attention, notes the Associated Press. “They really were supposed to be there to get him to the nearest health care facility,” the lawyer for Boyd’s family, Latoya Francis-Williams, said.

When police arrived, Boyd told them his girlfriend “got him intoxicated and is secretly recording him while someone else is in the home.” In their report, police described Boyd as “confused and paranoid.” Boyd apparently then got a bit aggressive, tried to enter two police cars and even knocked on the door of a neigbhor’s house asking for someone to call the police. He refused to obey orders and began to kick officers. The police report acknowledges that an officer punched Boyd twice in the face.

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“They kept on grabbing on him and holding him down, and he started screaming, ‘Grandma, Grandma, they’re going to kill me,’ ” Linda Burch, Boyd’s grandmother, said. “I kept telling them stop before they hurt him because I told them they could kill him like that,” she added. Police told the grandmother to go across the street or they would arrest her.

Boyd was finally taken to the hospital but died on Wednesday. “Mr. Boyd was in need of medical attention, and the police responded with violence,” said Francis-Williams. “The police beat him into intensive care, and now he’s no longer with us.”

The state medical examiner is set to conduct an autopsy to try to get some answers about what happened.

Sept. 24 2016 9:55 AM

Police Hunt for Gunman Who Killed Five at Mall in Washington State

Police in northwest Washington state are on the lookout for a man who opened fire on Friday night in the makeup department of a Macy’s inside a mall and killed five people. The carnage began at around 7 p.m. on Friday, when a man walked into the Cascade Mall in Burlington, around 65 miles north of Seattle, and just started shooting. Four women were killed on the spot and a man who was seriously injured died overnight. “We are still actively looking for the shooter,” Washington State Patrol spokesman Sgt. Mark Francis said at a news conference. “Stay indoors, stay secure.”

The gunman, who appears to have worked alone, left the mall before law enforcement arrived. Police are now searching for a Hispanic man wearing gray who was last seen on the trails outside the mall walking toward a highway. Early Saturday, the FBI sought to bring some calm to the area, writing on Twitter that it had “no information to suggest additional attacks planned” in Washington state.

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“Tragedy has struck in Washington tonight. Our hearts are in Burlington,” Gov. Jay Inslee wrote on Twitter.

The shooting comes less than a week after a man was shot dead at a mall in Minnesota after he stabbed nine people, which the FBI is investigating as a possible terror attack.

Sept. 23 2016 4:49 PM

This Week’s Conservative Pundit Tracker: Can’t Wait to Debate Edition

Each week we’re publishing a new chart showing where our group of 25 right-wing pundits stand on the question of Trump, and you’ll be able to look back at past weeks to see if minds are changing. Our categories are “Voting Trump,” “Voting Clinton,” “Not Voting,” “Someone Else,” and “Inscrutable.” Someone else means either a third party candidate or a write-in. Inscrutable includes pundits who have voiced opposition to both Trump and Clinton, but are otherwise undecided, and those who are sharply critical of Trump but haven’t stated a preferred alternative. Click on a pundit’s head to see what he or she has said about the election this week. (If someone doesn’t write or speak or tweet—crazy, but possible—in a given week, we’ll assume they are “thinking…” Also: We are scouring the internet obsessively, but it’s a big place and it’s possible someone will say something that we miss. We are confident you’ll let us know in comments if so!)

Will the Inscrutables pull it together come November? Will anyone else jump on the Hillary train? Will more pundits coalesce around a third-party candidate? Or will everyone eventually fall into line for Trump between now and Election Day? Keep an eye on this weekly tracker to find out.

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Is Donald Trump starting to behave like a presidential candidate? He renounced his birtherism, at least kind of, avoided weighing in at all on the demise of Brangelina, and responded to the unrest in Charlotte with a not-irresponsible tweet.

The most embarrassing gaffe of the week for his campaign, in fact, was committed by a surrogate, when Don King dropped the n-word while introducing Trump at a rally at a Cleveland church. (Or maybe it was this lady.)

Our conservative Trump skeptics, spared of having to react to the outrageous statement of the day, instead spent the week emphasizing how they deem both candidates unfit for office. “I have to admit that while I may view Hillary Clinton’s campaign as anti-American, I view Donald Trump’s campaign as un-American,” wrote Erick Erikson in a column at The Resurgent, with the troll-tastic headline “Reconsidering My Opposition to Trump.” (Spoiler alert: He’s not.)

With 44 days until the election, we are starting to see a bit of movements from our pundits. We are moving syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell into the Trump column for comparing the choice between Clinton and Trump to the choice a WWII fighter pilot would face if his plane burst into flames.

If he bails out, there is no guarantee that his parachute will open. But even if he lands safely in the ocean, he may be eaten by sharks. If he comes down on land, he may be captured by the Japanese and tortured and/or killed.
In other words, there are huge and potentially fatal risks. But, if he remains in the plane, he is doomed for certain. To me, Donald Trump represents multiple and potentially fatal risks. But Hillary Clinton is a certainty of disaster.

And George Will moves a smidge, from “Inscrutable” to “Someone Else,” for telling an audience that he might write in the name of a conservative anti-Trumper but won’t for Gary Johnson because "Third parties are like wasps; they sting and die."

On to the tracker.

Sept. 23 2016 4:25 PM

Ted Cruz Writes Facebook Endorsement of Trump, Gives a Few Made Up Reasons for Caving

Ted Cruz and Donald Trump didn’t always see eye-to-eye when they were opponents in the race for the Republican nomination. That’s mostly because Donald Trump sunk to a historic, though not a personal, low in his personal attacks and innuendo on Cruz and his wife, Heidi. Trump also coined the phrase “Lyin’ Ted” to describe Cruz, an early indication of his nuanced and sophisticated marketing prowess.

Once he left the race, to his credit, Cruz held out longer than most from wrapping themselves in colors the historically bigoted Trump campaign. At the Republican Convention in Cleveland he angered many in the hall by failing to endorse Trump. But with Trump looking like he might bottom out in the presidential race, there was a healthy dose of good politics mixed in with Cruz's personal loathing, leading to his decision not to endorse his party's nominee. With Trump's campaign stabilized, if still generally offensive, and running competitively against Hillary Clinton, Cruz's anti-Trump bet began to look more risky. Shifting political winds making it look harder for Cruz to leverage a Trump loss to his benefit along with the prospect of being the least popular member of the Senate during a Trump administration must have been enought to convince Cruz that he needed to jettison his current principled stand and go back to his original principled stand to support the nominee through thick and thin.

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Here's what that looked like in Cruz's endorsement:

This election is unlike any other in our nation’s history. Like many other voters, I have struggled to determine the right course of action in this general election.
In Cleveland, I urged voters, “please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket whom you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”
After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

You can read the full principled-for-now endorsement here.

Sept. 23 2016 2:07 PM

Cellphone Video Shows Keith Scott’s Wife Pleading “Don’t Shoot Him” Before Police Open Fire

Despite public demands to see the tape, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has so far refused to release its video footage of the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott at the hands of its officers this week. The shooting of Scott, who is black, by officers provoked days and nights of sometimes peaceful, sometimes violent protests in downtown Charlotte. On Friday, attorneys for the Scott family preempted the police force and released cell phone footage taken by Scott’s wife, Rakeyia Scott, in the moments before her husband was killed.

The graphic video shows a frantic Rakeyia Scott pleading with the officers not to shoot her husband. “Don’t shoot him,” she repeats at the beginning of the 2-plus minute tape. “He has no weapon.” You can hear police officers closer to the scene shouting to her husband to drop the gun. “He doesn’t have a gun… He has a T.B.I. (Traumatic Brain Injury)… He just took his medicine,” Rakeyia Scott can be heard saying in response, moments before police begin firing.

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The sound of a wife watching her husband get shot is unthinkably distressing and heartbreaking. The footage provides new insight into the scene at the time of shooting, but neither the audio nor video helps determine whether Keith Scott was carrying a gun, which police say was found near the body, and “posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers.”  The Scott family lawyers admitted as much, but said they hoped the police would release their footage to paint a fuller picture of what happened. “Mr. Scott had parked his car in a visitor’s space in their apartment complex, where he often waited for one of his children to return home on a bus. The police were there to serve a warrant on someone else,” according to the New York Times. “The lawyers said Ms. Scott had come out of the apartment with a cellphone charger for her husband and noticed that police officers were around the truck.”

Here’s a transcript of the video (via the New York Times):

OFFICER: Hands up!
RAKEYIA SCOTT: Don’t shoot him. Don’t shoot him. He has no weapon. He has no weapon. Don’t shoot him.
OFFICER: Don’t shoot. Drop the gun. Drop the fucking gun.
RAKEYIA SCOTT: Don’t shoot him. Don’t shoot him.
OFFICER: Drop the gun.
RAKEYIA SCOTT: He didn’t do anything.
OFFICER: Drop the gun. Drop the gun.
RAKEYIA SCOTT: He doesn’t have a gun. He has a T.B.I. (Traumatic Brain Injury).
OFFICER: Drop the gun.
RAKEYIA SCOTT: He is not going to do anything to you guys.
RAKEYIA SCOTT: He just took his medicine.
OFFICER: Drop the gun. Let me get a fucking baton over here. [muffled]
RAKEYIA SCOTT: Keith, don’t let them break the windows. Come on out the car.
OFFICER: [muffled]
OFFICER:Drop the gun.
RAKEYIA SCOTT: Keith! Don’t you do it.
OFFICER: Drop the gun.
RAKEYIA SCOTT: Keith, get out the car. Keith! Keith! Don’t you do it! Don’t you do it! Keith!
OFFICER: Drop the gun.
RAKEYIA SCOTT: Keith! Keith! Keith! Don’t you do it! [SHOTS]
RAKEYIA SCOTT: Fuck. Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him? He better not be fucking dead. He better not be fucking dead. I know that fucking much. I know that much. He better not be dead. I’m not going to come near you. I’m going to record, though. I’m not coming near you. I’m going to record, though. He better be alive because ...I come You better be alive. How about that? Yes, we here, over here at 50 ... 50 ...9453 Lexington Court. These are the police officers that shot my husband,and he better live. He better live. Because he didn’t do nothing to them.
OFFICER: Is everybody good? Are you good?
RAKEYIA SCOTT: He good. Nobody ... touch nobody, so they’re all good.
OFFICER: You good?
RAKEYIA SCOTT: I know he better live. I know he better live. How about that I’m not coming to you guys, but he’d better live. He better live. You all hear it, you see this, right? He better live.
OFFICER: [muffled]
AKEYIA SCOTT: He better live. I swear, he better live. Yep, he better live. He better fucking live. He better live. Where is...He better fucking live, and I can’t even leave the damn...I ain’t going nowhere. I’m staying in the same damn spot. What the fuck. That’s O.K. did you all call the police? I mean, did you all call an ambulance.

Sept. 23 2016 12:15 PM

CNN Counts Bombings and Protests Over Police Shootings as Political “Wins” This Week for Trump

TGIF! Right? And since it’s Friday, CNN thought that would be a good time to—ding! ding! ding!—declare a winner in the microtargeted world of weekly presidential politics. There was, of course, nothing to actually win this week because there were no ballots cast, just fleeting points to be had or lost in the imaginary mini-elections we like to call polls. (OK, technically there was some early voting this week in a handful of states.)

To determine a winner, CNN did what a lot of us do: Made a tally of pros and cons for each candidate. CNN registered two “wins” for Donald Trump and his campaign to become the President of the United States of America. One win, “narrows the swing state gap,” seems like a clear win if you’re a candidate. And the second Trump win this week, according to CNN? “Bombings, Police Protest Fit Campaign Narrative.” Wait, what? A bombing terrorizing and injuring dozens in New York and New Jersey is a Trump campaign win? Black men getting shot by police officers, which then sparks protests about the treatment of black communities by the police force is another Trump win? Seems like these should be separate star bullet points, CNN. They’re kind of biggies. At least we’re counting the “Skittles Controversy” as a net loss for Team Trump.

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What is helpful about this idiotic CNN graphic, which was surely first conceived via feverish collaboration between Wolf Blitzer and Don Lemon handwritten in magic marker, is that it reminds us of one crucial fact: What’s good for Trump is bad for America.

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