RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WRIC) — Body-camera video of the fatal shooting of an unarmed man by a Richmond police officer shows the man emerge naked from a car and dash onto a highway, where he flailed erratically on the ground before running toward the officer.
Police Chief Alfred Durham on Friday released the video of 24-year-old Marcus-David Peters’ fatal shooting earlier this month.
“I want to be clear,” Chief Durham said to the media. “My releasing of this video today is in no way to demean, humiliate or to cast a negative shadow on or over Mr. Peters or his family.”
Police Chief Durham says Officer Michael Nyantakyi had moments to react.
“When Mr. Peters stood up and made his comment, it was all said and done in 18 seconds,” he told the press Friday.
In the video, Peters approached Officer Nyantakyi saying, “Back the f— up. Put the taser down or I’ll kill you.”
The officer replies, “I’ll deploy,” referencing to the taser.
Peters then says “Trooper die M—– f——.”
The video shows Officer Michael Nyantakyi first used a stun gun when Peters approached him. Police say it was not effective, as only one of the two prongs of the taser went onto Peters.
Whether or not this administered a shock is still being investigated. It appears in the video that Peters tried to get physical with the officer. Then two shots were fired into Peters’ abdomen.
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Durham also played surveillance video that showed Peters drive away from a downtown hotel where he worked part time.
Police say he was involved in three hit-and-runs before the encounter with the officer.
Peters’ family has already seen the video. They held a press conference Friday after the footage was made public.
Peters’ sister has said it shows her brother was clearly in distress and needed help.
“The body camera footage released by Richmond Police Department today confirmed what I already knew,” Peters’ sister, Princess Blanding, said. “Marcus was unarmed, clearly in distress and in need of help. Instead of receiving help, he received fatal bullets.
“This entire situation really has me wondering, who are police trained to help? Who are they serving and protecting? Themselves?”
Chief Durham says these investigations take time and urges people to not be judgemental before knowing all of the facts of the case.
“We have never had a situation like this ladies and gentlemen. Never. And for the first time, people want answers right then and there. I don’t have answers,” he said. “We want a fair and thorough investigation. If you pass judgment shame on you.”
The chief mentioned that officers receive about 40 hours of mental health training, while professionals in the field get 5 to 8 years of experience.
“We’re wearing a lot of hats ladies and gentlemen, and when incidents come like this and folks just want to beat us up without having the facts,” he said. “That hurts ladies and gentlemen. It hurts the morale of the men and women of our department and it hurts me.”
The investigation is still going on. It will be reviewed by the chief and then passed along to the Commonwealth’s Attorney, to determine whether use of force was justified. This report will also include the autopsy report from the Medical Examiner’s Office.