CNN intentionally removed critical audio from the footage of Keith Scott’s death, according to a law enforcement media company.
On October 3, TruthPR reported that Blue Lives Matter, “a media company made up entirely of active and retired law enforcement officers,” had issued a statement challenging CNN’s video editing practices. The group announced that the “victims of the Charlotte riots,” which occurred following the fatal police shooting of Scott, “should be able to sue CNN for intentionally editing their video to spread a false narrative.”
On September 20, 43-year-old Scott was shot and killed by a black police officer in Charlotte, North Carolina. Amid questions of whether or not the shooting was justified, CNN edited and released the cell phone footage taken by Scott’s widow, Rakeyia Scott.
In CNN’s 22-second edited video, Ms. Scott says repeatedly, “He has no weapon.” Then, all of a sudden, gunshots are heard, the camera becomes shaky and Ms. Scott yells, “Did you shoot him?”
However, CNN removed significant audio from that footage. Throughout the 2-minute-and-31-second unedited video, the police officers yell at Scott to drop his gun more than 10 times with the voice of Scott’s widow in the background exclaiming that he has no weapon.
According to CNN, one officer’s body-camera footage shows Scott with his right arm by his side. Blue Lives Matters argued that an ankle holster is visible in the same footage.
As a result of the shooting, violent riots erupted in Charlotte. According to TruthPR, Blue Lives Matters argued that “CNN was reckless in its reporting and contributed to more than a dozen injured during two days of riots.”
Blue Lives Matter released an official statement on CNN’s video choice Monday:
"The editing was clearly intended to give viewers the impression that Scott wasn't armed. By intentionally excluding information to promote the false narrative that the officer-involved shooting of Keith Scott was unjustified, CNN directly contributed towards inciting violence and destruction in the Charlotte riots. Innocent citizens were hurt during the Charlotte riots, but editing like this also incites violence against police officers long after the riots are over. Irresponsible reporting contributed to the assassination of officers in New York, Dallas, and Baton Rouge when the killers were trying to retaliate against police for perceived injustices. There are consequences to editing video like this, and it may cost more officers their lives."
This isn’t the first time CNN has edited footage surrounding a controversial shooting.