North Carolina: Keith Lamont autopsy reveals details in police shooting case

Posted at 12:02 AM, Nov 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-15 00:02:18-05

Results of an official county autopsy report reveal Keith Lamont Scott, a black Charlotte, North Carolina, man shot and killed by police, died due to gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen.

Lamont, 43, died on September 20.

“Based on the history and autopsy findings, it is my opinion that the cause of death in this case is gunshot wounds of the chest and abdomen,” said Dr. Jonathan Privette of the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office.

An attorney for Scott’s family, Justin Bamberg, has mixed views on the results.

“It can be somewhat misleading to say he was shot in the chest,” said Bamberg, “and died from a gunshot wound to the chest. Mr. Scott was shot in the back and you can see that in the autopsy.”

Toxicological tests of Scott’s blood indicated the presence of the diazepam, amantadine, babapentin, nicotine, nordiazepam and promethazine.

All these drugs were being used for Scott’s traumatic brain injury, according to Bamberg.

“It’s odd, it doesn’t sit very well with the facts,” Bamberg said. “It leaves a degree of mystery because the police department said that the primary reason for interacting with Scott was because they say he had marijuana in his hand,” he added.

Death sparks protests

Lamont’s death not only sparked protests but also mounted public pressure on police to be transparent about the evidence.

In October, Charlotte police released dashcam and body camera footage of the shooting that provided insights into Scott’s final minutes.

The video showed Scott dying in a parking lot, with his hands cuffed behind his back and his pants pulled down to his ankles. His shirt had been cut to treat his gunshot wounds. Officers giving him first aid are heard saying, “Stay with us, bro.”

Body-camera footage reveals that officers immediately noted the presence of a gun at the scene. The officers also noted a gunshot wound in the back of Scott’s left shoulder.

There are conflicting accounts over whether officers were justified in using deadly force.

The Charlotte Police Department has stood by its account that a black officer shot Scott, also black, after he made a threatening gesture with a gun. The department released photos of a pistol and ankle holster recovered at the scene and has said it found Scott’s DNA on the weapon.

Scott’s family has said he had no gun, that he was reading a book and was being nonaggressive when police were surrounding him.

The Scott family awaits the State Bureau of Investigations’ completion of its investigation and recommendation to the district attorney, according to Bamberg.