Since the fatal shooting of Justin Carr during protests in uptown Charlotte last September, questions have lingered about who shot him. Raquan Borum was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, but people who were in the area at the time of the shooting have challenged the police account of what happened.
Last week, a judge ordered police to release video footage captured from the night Justin Carr was killed. However, the footage doesn't answer a whole lot. Carr, who was participating in protests following the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, was near the Omni hotel. The video shows people dispersing in response to the gunshot that killed Carr. In the video, you don't see anyone point a gun at him, and you don't see him go down. 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. Borum rejected a plea deal in last month, and pleaded not guilty. Here are some questions and answers about the case:
Q: Was a gun or bullet recovered?
A: No, at least according to Sherrill. An autopsy report shows the bullet that killed Carr exited the right side of his forehead.
Q: Does video from of shooting exist that was captured by Omni hotel cameras?
A: Prosecutors have additional video in evidence, but we don’t know if it is from the Omni. An Omni manager, Michael Mettler, told WFAE that he wasn’t aware of any Omni video that exists of the shooting and that “I’m not aware of any video that was turned over to CMPD.”
Mettler denied a WFAE request to look at video from the evening of the Carr shooting. He said it was company policy that, besides Omni officals, only law enforcement is allowed to look at surveillance video.
Q: Was Rayquan Borum in the area where Justin Carr was shot?
A: Yes, according to his attorney. He says video shows him in the area.
Q: It was reported that Raquan Borum confessed to the murder of Justin Carr. Is it true that he confessed?
A: Sherrill told WFAE earlier this month that Borum has admitted to bringing a gun to the protests, and firing the gun, but that doesn’t mean he shot Carr. He says that doesn’t amount to a confession.
WFAE’s Sarah Delia asked Sherrill why he believes CMPD arrested Borum. Here's his response:
"I really don’t know the answer to that. That’s one I would like to know the answer to. He was just one that was in the video from what I can tell from the videos he stands out because they, as far as I know, saw him and started to look and see ‘can we see him in this one and this one?’ that type of thing. So that led to bringing him in to question him as far as I can tell. When they did, he admitted to having a gun. He was very cooperative and truthful.
"The first reports that came out as I recall was that he had given a confession and what he said is not what I would characterize as a confession. He admitted to having a gun and to firing that gun, and I think they put that together to say it was a confession. He was just being totally forthright. He didn’t know what happened. He was caught up in the moment. I wish he hadn’t had a gun, we wouldn’t be here."
It is worth noting that Sherrill has backtracked on some of his earlier statements. After a bond hearing in March, he told WFAE’s Lisa Worf that it “appears” that Borum shot Carr.
Here’s an excerpt of that conversation:
TS: That’s the way it appears, that he did in fact shoot Mr. Carr.
LW: What tells you that?
TS: Well, there is only evidence of one shot being fired and it appears that the gun that Mr. Borum had was in fact discharged. So, I think that is something that we are going to have to live with. Again, terribly sorry for the Carr Family that they are enduring what they are enduring that was a result of Mr. Borum’s actions first of all in taking the gun out there and then pulling it out. Don’t know what motivated him to pull it out other than perhaps feeling that things were just closing in on him. I don’t believe he was trying to shoot police or anyone in particular.
LW: You know this is the first time that I’ve heard that the defense had said he had indeed shot him but that it was accident….
TS: I hadn’t given any statement to anyone at all. So this was the first time that that was said by the defense. I have investigators looking into it. That’s something that we can’t disprove, alright? In light of some things that he has said.
Ash Williams, an organizer with Charlotte Uprising, doesn’t believe that Sherrill is acting in Borum’s best interest, in part because he’s a court-appointed attorney paid by the state. Here’s an excerpt of a conversation she had with Sarah about what she hopes is the outcome of the trial:
“I hope that Raquan’s trial humanizes him. I hope that people can see that he is a real person who has been let down by the system that we know is inherently flawed. But that what has happened has taken a toll on an actual person’s life. I hope they take that away first and foremost. But then I hope that folks are more apt to listen to the stories of those who are most directly impacted by these oppressions and systems. And I hope that folks are willing to critique systems of power mainly the police."
The trial has not been scheduled. It won't be until at least 2018.