Judge Orders Release of Uptown Protest Video In Area Where Justin Carr Was Shot
Video footage captured the night Justin Carr was shot and killed in uptown Charlotte has been released. Doug Miller of the Charlotte Observer petitioned that footage from Sept. 21, 2016, - the night Carr was shot in front of the Omni Hotel - be made public.
Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin signed off on the order Tuesday.
The recordings include footage of a large group outside the Omni hotel. Rayquan Borum, who has been charged in the shooting death of Justin Carr, is said to be seen on this footage.
The Mecklenburg District Attorney's office and the attorney for Borum objected to releasing about 2 minutes of Omni video. According to Ervin's order, they argued release of the video would "deprive Mr. Borum of his ability to obtain a fair trial on the charge of first-degree murder." They requested that 2 minutes of the 11-minute Omni video be redacted.
Ervin rejected that request, saying the video will not have a material impact on Borum's right to a fair trial.
The Observer's Miller requested eight videos overall. All but one of the eight video comes "from cameras along various Charlotte roads and/or highways by or on behalf of CMPD," according to the order. The exception is a recording taken from a CMPD helicopter. (Click here to watch all eight videos).
The Omni video shows people dispersing in response to the gunshot that killed Justin Carr. You don’t see anyone point a gun at Justin Carr, and you you don’t see Carr go down either. You don't see Carr until people surround him, calling for help.
Borum's attorney, Terry Sherrill, says Borum is in the footage. He also says that Borum had a gun at the protest that night and shot the gun, but says Borum did not point a gun at Justin Carr.
Sherrill doesn't think the video is strong evidence because "there is nothing in the video that clearly shows that Rayquan even shot the gun, I don’t believe. Nothing that clearly shows that he shot a gun toward a crowd. The video puts him there in the area of the Omni at about the time Justin Carr was shot, just like a whole other folk including the police."
The shooting has been the subject of a lot of theories that someone besides Borum is responsible. The activist group Charlotte Uprising has pushed the theory that a CMPD officer is responsible.
CMPD Chief Kerr Putney has said there is strong evidence that Borum is responsible. In announcing his arrest last year, Putney showed confidence in video footage evidence.
"Our crime scene investigators and our homicide detectives were able used to use a lot of footage. Our real time crime center was able to supply footage from cameras that was able to solve that case," Putney said.
We don't know if Putney was referring to the same video that was released Tuesday evening.
But Putney told WFAE's Mark Rumsey last week that he realizes there are people who still doubt CMPD arrested the right person for Carr's murder, but believes those doubts will subside. He brought up the investigation in the shooting of Keith Scott as an example.
"The DA was able to, when it (the investigation) was finished, release all the information related to the Mr. Scott shooting. That has yet to happen in the Carr case. I think that will alleviate the doubt as well."
On the night that Carr was shot, rumors immediately spread that a CMPD officer was responsible.
"I remember being afraid and trying to get my bearings and looking around," says Charlotte Uprising's Ash Williams. "Folks were screaming that cops just shot a protestor and I remember thinking ok we need to get everyone out of here in a really safe way."
Borum’s lawyer, Sherrill, notes the crowd was already on edge because a police officer shot Keith Scott.
A year later, Chief Putney still sees and feels the mistrust some in the community have. He has said police need to do a better job of reaching out t odifferent people, but that critics of CMPD also need to be open to communicating with police.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.