CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The family of Keith Lamont Scott, who was shot and killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer in 2016, has filed a lawsuit against the city and the police department.
The lawsuit says the officer and CMPD were "grossly negligent" and caused the wrongful death of Scott in September 2016.
Scott was armed with a gun, the district attorney said.
Scott was shot and killed by police Sept. 20, 2016, outside his apartment in the University area.
The shooting set off days of protests and riots across the city.
The district attorney determined the officer who pulled the trigger, Brentley Vinson, was justified in the shooting. CMPD also cleared Vinson of any wrongdoing in its internal investigation.
Channel 9 covered the shooting and the unrest that followed extensively:
Last year, the Citizens Review Board, which investigates complaints about police conduct, split four-to-four on the question of whether police acted correctly.
The lawsuit claims officers should have found a way to de-escalate the situation without killing Scott.
The 21-page lawsuit said Vinson and the team of officers who were with him moved too fast and too aggressively when they tried to arrest Scott.
“I think it was gross negligence,” said attorney Chuck Monnett, who represents Scott’s family. “I think it was a poorly planned and poorly executed operation from the get go.”
Monnett laid out the case for negligence in the lawsuit, saying that the officers couldn't even be sure Scott had marijuana in his car when they decided to use a risky vehicle takedown to take him into custody.
“They went in on such an aggressive manner on a subject they knew nothing about,” Monnett said. “There may be subjects where it's necessary to take this approach, but they didn't even know Keith's name.”
Video shot by Scott's widow showed how quickly the confrontation spiraled out of control.
Monnett said the officers didn't do anything to ease the tension.
“They had multiple opportunities to de-escalate the situation and failed to manage any of them,” Monnett said.
Monnett said they've tried to reach a settlement with the city, but that hasn't happened. Scott's widow and her family are not about to back down.
“In essence, we had no alternative,” Monnett said. “It was either to go away and let this injustice stay, or file this lawsuit.”
Attorneys have two years to file a lawsuit in wrongful death cases.
This is the second lawsuit filed against the city over an officer-involved shooting.
The family of Josue Javier Diaz is also suing. Diaz was involved in a confrontation on Albemarle Road with an undercover officer last January.
The officer shot him six times.
The officer was cleared, but the family claims the officer violated several departmental policies.
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