Presence of a Gun Alone Was Not Enough to Disarm Keith Lamont Scott, Legal Experts Say

PHOTO: The family of Keith Lamont Scott released a cellphone video to the ABCNews showing Scotts encounter with police in Charlotte, North Carolina. His wife pleads not to shoot her husband.PlayRakeyia Scott
WATCH Newly-Released Video Raises Questions About Charlotte Police Shooting

Keith Lamont Scott's alleged possession of a firearm at the time of his shooting death would not on its own be a reason to forcibly disarm him, according to two legal experts.

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Police announced on Saturday that lab analysis revealed the presence of Scott's DNA and fingerprints on a loaded handgun recovered from the scene by investigators.

Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney released body and dashboard camera videos of the fatal police shooting of Scott, answering to demands made by community leaders, protesters and politicians, but it is not entirely clear from those videos or from the one taken by Scott's wife, Rakeiya Scott, that the victim had a gun or that he brandished it in a way that would pose a threat to the officers who approached him.

Police also released evidence of an ankle holster and a marijuana cigarette. Police have alleged that Keith Lamont Scott was rolling a "blunt" in his car.

ABC News spoke to E. Gregory Wallace, a professor at Campbell University School of Law in North Carolina, and Joseph E. Kennedy, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, about the state's open-carry gun laws, and they agreed that short of brandishing a gun, the presence of a handgun on Scott would not on its own justify an attempt by officers to disarm him.

States like California and New York bar carrying handguns in public, and some states allow open carry with a license. North Carolina is among 31 states that do not require a license for open carry.

There are limitations to the law, however; criminal history, drug use or immigration status can forfeit a person's right to carry a gun.

Wallace noted that if the police saw the marijuana cigarette in combination with the gun, it might be enough to justify forcibly disarming Scott because of the implication of illegal activity, but police would have needed to see both at the same time.

"The mere display of a firearm in the city of Charlotte doesn't give police cause to detain or disarm a citizen," Wallace said.

PHOTO: This police body camera screen grab courtesy of a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department video released, Sept. 24, 2016, shows Keith Lamont Scott (R) looking on as a police officer approaches in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept. 20, 2016.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department/Ho/AFP/Getty Images
This police body camera screen grab courtesy of a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department video released, Sept. 24, 2016, shows Keith Lamont Scott (R) looking on as a police officer approaches in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept. 20, 2016.

PHOTO: This police body camera screen grab that shows Keith Lamont Scott (L) lying on the ground after being shot as as a police officer approaches in Charlotte, North Carolina , Sept. 20, 2016.
<p itemprop= " onerror="this.src='http://a.abcnews.com/images/US/Gty_scott_shooting_2_er_160926_4x3_992.jpg'" />Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department/HO/AFP/Getty Images
This police body camera screen grab that shows Keith Lamont Scott (L) lying on the ground after being shot as as a police officer approaches in Charlotte, North Carolina , Sept. 20, 2016.

Wallace said the videos fail to show the encounter that led to his shooting, leaving many questions about the incident unanswered. Wallace separates the incident into two parts: the decision to disarm Scott, followed by the decision to shoot.

"The video doesn't cover any time prior to having guns drawn," he said. "My question is, What was the cause of the initial approach?"

The video released by police shows Scott exiting a white SUV. He backs away from it with his hands at his sides and doesn't appear to be acting in a threatening manner.

Officers can be heard shouting, “Drop the gun!” in the video.

Scott was shot multiple times. He can be heard in the video moaning in pain as officers put handcuffs on him.

Kennedy told ABC News that in North Carolina, someone may legally challenge a police officer's request to put a gun down.

"Having a gun makes you armed, but it doesn't necessarily make you dangerous," he said.

He spoke critically of open-carry laws and said that the laws put both citizens and police officers in an "impossible situation" because of the legal justification for citizens to be armed in public.

He added that without a gun in Scott's hand, the shooting of him should be considered "grossly negligent" on the part of police.

Wallace said that if it could be determined that Scott had his weapon in his holster at the time of the shooting, it would be a "game changer," noting that it would not have put the police in enough danger to warrant shooting him.

Ray Dotch, Scott's brother-in-law, called today for the release of the full police video, saying he hopes that Americans will take "an absolute unflinching look" at prejudice and police-involved shootings and that "we as a nation tell the truth about who we are."

It is unclear whether the full video will make clear what happened during the initial approach to Scott's vehicle and whether he had a gun in his hand at the time he was shot by police.

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