Charlotte police have been accused of overreacting when one of them fatally shot Keith Scott on Sept. 20. And initial reports describing Scott, 43, as a father of seven waiting in his truck for his child’s school bus to arrive did raise questions about whether police shot a man who was not a threat.
But information emerging from court papers, police accounts and media reports show that when Scott got out of his truck holding a gun, as police say, officers did face a suspect with a history of convictions and charges of being violent. In court papers filed less than a year ago, Scott’s wife said he carried a gun, called himself a “killer” and threatened to kill his family. Rakeyia Scott had sought a domestic violence protective order against him on Oct. 5 of last year. She said in a motion that her husband had hit their 8-year-old son in the head and kicked her. Only days after Scott’s wife sought the order, she filed a voluntary dismissal.
Other court documents show Scott had a criminal record in North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. In Texas, he was sentenced to seven years in prison for shooting and wounding man in 2002.
A lawyer for the family says Scott’s past doesn’t matter for purposes of determining what happened in the police shooting. That’s true, but the new information does underline the importance of the public waiting for all pertinent facts coming to light before reaching a definitive conclusion.
The investigation is proceeding. The SBI would do well to complete its work as soon as possible, for the benefit of all parties.