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What We Know About Brentley Vinson, Officer In Charlotte Shooting


The Charlotte police officer who fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott last week has a short personal history with CMPD but a long family one. WFAE's Michael Tomsic has been researching officer Brentley Vinson, who, like Scott, is African-American. He joined Mark Rumsey to discuss what we know.

Vinson has only been with CMPD about two years. He turned 26 years old this month. And he has no disciplinary history with CMPD, according to their records.

What do we know about his family history with CMPD?

His father, Alex Vinson, was with CMPD for 26 years. He investigated homicides, robberies and other crimes, eventually becoming a sergeant, according to his LinkedIn profile. He retired in 2006. In the past few years, he started his own private investigative company that specializes in criminal defense.

How long did the father's career overlap with current CMPD Chief Kerr Putney?

About 14 years. There was a four-year period when both Alex Vinson and Putney were sergeants, and then Putney was promoted to captain and kept working his way up.

It's unclear what kind of relationship they had, if any. Alex Vinson declined our interview request, and CMPD hasn't answered our questions about their relationship.

What else do we know about Brentley Vinson?

He has no criminal record, according to the Mecklenburg County clerk of court. A search of national records turned up one traffic violation that was dismissed.

He grew up in Charlotte and was a standout football player at Ardrey Kell High School before tearing his ACL. After recovering, he played one season with Fork Union Military Academy before going to Liberty University. It's a Christian school in Lynchburg, Virginia. He was a three-year starter at defensive back. 

What do people who know him say about him?

His coaches and a friend also declined or did not respond to our interview requests. His Liberty football profile mentions his leadership. In a Lynchburg newspaper story from his senior year, a coach describes him as exactly the kind of player you want. And a teammate said: 

"He’s been a huge role model for me on and off the field. Most importantly, he keeps me on the right path. He keeps everybody in check that way."

What's Vinson's current status with CMPD?

He's on paid administrative leave, which is standard after an officer-involved shooting.

Mark Rumsey grew up in Kansas and got his first radio job at age 17 in the town of Abilene, where he announced easy-listening music played from vinyl record albums.