When asked if any officers at all would be charged in Scott’s grisly shooting, Putney said he would “absolutely not” charge any officers, though he admitted there is no “definitive visual evidence that [Scott] had a gun in his hand and that he pointed it at an officer.”
Putney, apparently invoking Reefer Madness fears of “black men on drugs,” claimed Scott presented a “safety issue” by possessing both cannabis and a firearm. Oddly, the Charlotte Police Department on Saturday evening deleted all its Twitter posts related to the press conference and referencing the footage.Footage released on Friday, filmed by Scott’s wife, shows cops around Scott’s lifeless body on the pavement after he was shot. That footage didn’t show the shooting itself. Scott’s death sparked days of ongoing protests in Charlotte against police brutality and racism.
“I have pointed out again and again, really to the point of exhaustion and despair (so much so that I could barely bring myself to write about this another time), that even though the national debate is evolving about marijuana use and drug policy, police departments seem to be stuck a hundred years ago, when ‘cocaine-crazed Negroes’ and Mexican ‘reefer madness’ were the order of the day,” wrote Sharda Sekaran, managing director of communications at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), on Tuesday.
“It is disturbing and extreme and should be making all of us sick to our stomachs,” Sekaran wrote. “Marijuana is a substance that has been used by half of Americans, is cheerfully enjoyed throughout pop culture, and in several states is a burgeoning legal commodity. But apparently, if you’re black in North Carolina, marijuana possession is also just cause for public execution.”