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Keith Scott's Widow Doesn't Believe CMPD Officer Vinson Shot Her Husband

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Michael Tomsic
/
WFAE
Attorneys for the family of Keith Scott at a Sept. 22nd press conference. (From left) Justin Bamberg, Charles Monnett, Eduardo Curry

A private autopsy was released late Wednesday for Keith L. Scott, the 43 year old African-American whose deadly encounter with police last month sparked riots and protests across Charlotte.

The independent autopsy, commissioned by Scott's family, finds Scott was shot three times -- once in the left side of his back, once in the left abdomen, and once in his left wrist. According to the autopsy, Scott was ultimately killed by the gunshot wounds in his back and abdomen.

In a statement, an attorney for the Scott family, Charles Monnett, said the family was forced to conduct an independent autopsy because "the medical examiner refused to release even the most basic information about his wounds or cause of his death."

Monnett said he and the family believe the first shot fired was the shot that struck Keith in the back and ultimately killed him.

'He Had No Gun; He Was Not A Threat'

CMPD has maintained that Scott was holding a gun at the time of the shooting and ignored officers' commands to drop the weapon, but in an interview that aired Wednesday on CBS This Morning, Scott's widow, Rakeyia Scott, held firm on her assertion the Scott was unarmed.

"He had no gun. He was not a threat," She said. "I was there. I saw this incident unfold before my face."

Crime scene investigators have said they retrieved a loaded handgun from the scene with Scott's DNA and fingerprints. Investigators also say Scott was wearing an ankle holster at the time of the shooting. CMPD has released dashcam footage of the shooting, but the quality is poor and CMPD Chief Kerr Putney has called it inconclusive.

In her interview with CBS, Rakeyia Scott also called into question the identity of the CMPD officer who officials say fired the fatal shots.

"Officer Vinson- I don't believe shot my husband," she said, referring to CMPD officer Brentley Vinson, who CMPD placed on administrative leave following the shooting. Based on her view of the scene, she says she saw Vinson, who is African-American, standing at a distance, removed from the interaction.

"What does the Charlotte Police Department have to gain by saying it was a black officer who shot your husband?" asked interviewer Gayle King of CBS.

"I'm not sure what they have to gain," Scott replied. "I'm just going by what I recall and believe that day."

'They Didn't Know Nothing About Him'

Several media outlets, including WFAE, had reported that Rakeyia Scott filed a restraining order against her husband after he allegedly pulled a gun on her and hit one of their children, which Scott confirmed. "All of it is correct, absolutely," she said, "But that's my marriage. I don't expect anyone to understand our marriage."

She dismissed the reports as irrelevant to the shooting. "Does that have anything to do with this case?" She asked, "Had they known him, then I would understand why they would be in - you know - defense mode. They didn't know who my husband was. They didn't know nothing about him."

Scott said in her interview that as the State Bureau of Investigation continues to investigate the shooting, her family is left with one question: "All we want is to know why. Just why. Why did you have to take Keith that day? Give us your reason -- the real, valid reason -- as to why my husband's life was taken that day before me."