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Mecklenburg DA Andrew Murray: Keith Scott Case 'Changed The History Of Charlotte'

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Diedra Laird / The Charlotte Observer
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Aired on Thursday, December 15

Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray expands on why he decided not to charge a CMPD officer in the shooting of Keith Scott.

The September shooting of Keith Lamont Scott thrust Mecklenburg County's district attorney, Andrew Murray, into a position other prosecutors across the country have found themselves in recent months - wrestling with whether to bring charges in a fatal police shooting.

Murray's office ultimately decided in late November not to charge Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Brentley Vinson in Scott's death, determining the deadly use of force was legally justified.

"My job is to do justice," Murray told Charlotte Talks. "When you put all of the evidence together, (it) convinced me beyond any doubt."

Murray has called it the most difficult decision of his nearly six years as Mecklenburg's top prosecutor. "This case became a national news story (and) it unfortunately changed the history of Charlotte," Murray told Charlotte Talks.

But the lack of criminal charges “doesn’t mean we can dismiss the concerns that were expressed by those who raised their voices to raise the consciousness of this community,” Murray said in November when announcing his decision.

Murray also denounced the role social media played in stoking rumors about the case, specifically that another officer, not Vinson, fired the fatal shots, and that Scott was unarmed.

He also referred to protests this week led by Charlotte Uprising in the death of 18-year-old Timothy Andre Davis. Leaders of the group, without any evidence, have accused CMPD officers of murdering Davis, who was wanted for armed robbery and assault. A SWAT team was called to a house after he didn’t open his door or respond to officers. David was later found dead inside the home. Police say he died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot, and that he was found with a gun near his feet.

"There's a concern that I have that some will not let the facts get in the way of a good agenda, and that is a shame," Murray told Charlotte Talks.

And, noting that some witnesses proved not to be credible in the Keith Scott shooting, Murray has some advice for journalists.

"Go do what reporters use to do. Ask probing questions. Do follow-ups, and find out if that is really probative and whether it’s correct and whether it’s really somebody just looking for their opportunities to talk to them."