Bias Alert

BIAS ALERT: Police group accuses CNN of deceptive edit of Charlotte shooting

Officials weigh in after Charlotte police decide to release video of fatal shooting


A law enforcement group is charging CNN edited video of the racially charged police shooting of a Charlotte, N.C., man to make officers look bad.

Blue Lives Matter, an organization comprised of active or retired law enforcement officers, claims the cable news network edited video of the Sept. 20 fatal shooting of Keith Scott to cut out police ordering him to “drop the gun,” fueling claims Scott, a black man, was unarmed when he was shot by Officer Brentley Vinson. Although Vinson is black, the incident was the latest police shooting around the nation to spur violent protests and rioting.

"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,” Blue Lives Matter said in a statement. “Innocent citizens were hurt during the Charlotte riots, but editing like this also incites violence against police officers long after the riots are over.”

The video in question was taken by Scott’s widow, Rakeyia Scott. In it, she can be heard saying, “He has no weapon.”

Video released by the police shows Scott, who police say was in his SUV rolling a joint, getting out of the vehicle and backing away from police as they crouched with their guns drawn. The grainy video does not clearly show whether Scott had a gun in his hand, but police say they recovered a stolen, loaded handgun at the scene and that Scott was wearing an ankle holster.

The full, unedited video includes a police officer shouting, “Gun. Gun. Drop the gun.”

As Rakeyia Scott pleads, “Don’t shoot him, don’t shoot him,” and “He didn’t do anything,” police continue to yell “drop the gun” or a similar phrase at least 12 times in 38 seconds.

Rayeyia Scott claims her husband was holding a book.

Blue Lives Matter claims the edited video helped create an erroneous impression that police acted with unnecessary force, and may have played a role in rioting.

“There are consequences to editing video like this, and it may cost more officers their lives,” Blue Lives Matter said.

In August, CNN was accused of editing comments from the sister of a black man killed by a black Milwaukee police officer to make it appear that she called for peace. The shooting of Sylville Smith, who police said refused to put down his gun, touched off riots and violence in the city.

Smith’s sister, Sherelle, was quoted as calling for an end to violence “in the city.” But CNN left out what followed: a call for protesters to burn down the suburbs.

CNN correspondent Anna Cabrera tweeted an apology for the edit, saying, “We shot-handed sister’s quote. Unintentionally gave the impression she was calling for peace everywhere. Correction.”