RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — It has been one month since Virginia State Police shot and killed Xzavier Hill, but still, very little information is being released by investigators.
Protests have broken out across the commonwealth from from Goochland to Charlottesville, where the 18-year-old lived. On Tuesday, dozens of UVA students and advocates gathered on campus to demand that police “release the tape.”
Many times after officer-involved shootings that result in protests and civil unrest, authorities will hold news conferences or release video of the incident. That’s what happened after Marcus-David Peters was shot by Richmond police in 2018. Authorities released a long, explicit video showing the moments leading up to Peters’ death and the shooting itself less than a month after it happened.
Other times, authorities keep the videos to themselves. One area police chief recently told 8News that body cam and dashcam videos are only be shown in court.
At UVA on Tuesday, protesters chanted, “Say his name! Xzavier Hill! Say his name! Xzavier Hill!” They are demanding the video showing troopers shooting and killing Hill.
“I only had one child. Xzavier is all that I had,” said LaToya Benton, Hill’s mother.
Benton has spoken publicly several times since the incident, including at Tuesday’s protest.
“These people say ‘Hey I killed your son. We’re gonna investigate that so hey just wait over here,” the mother said.
8News is still pressing state police for the video and to answer our questions ever since the incident. Their response every time is that the investigation is ongoing and no more details can be released.
When 8News filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for a copy of the dash cam video in January it was denied, again citing the open investigation.
“I already saw the tape you know so now its to the point now to let the public see, let the public decide,” Benton said.
There are two opposing accounts of what happened during the early morning hours of Jan. 9.
According to the VSP, at 4:35 a.m., police radar clocked a vehicle going 98 mph in a 65 mph zone. The trooper turned on his emergency lights and siren and as they pursued the vehicle in question, the driver refused to stop and exceeded speeds of 120 mph, prompting a chase.
The driver attempted to make a U-turn around mile marker 172, but the vehicle slid down the embankment and became stuck in the median. State police said two troopers approached the vehicle, gave the driver orders to exit the vehicle and to show his hands. VSP said the driver displayed a firearm and Hill was shot, dying at the scene. Authorities said a handgun was later found inside the car.
Benton watched the dashcam video within days of the incident. While describing what she saw in an emotional interview with 8News, Benton said her son did not have a gun.
“I’m so sick of these cops saying, when they mess up, they say ‘Oh he had a gun,” she said. “No, they killed my son, they need to go to jail!”
Goochland Commonwealth’s Attorney, Mike Caudill, hasn’t added much since the incident. Caudill said Wedesday he is still waiting for the results of VSP’s investigation. After that happens, he will then decide if the troopers made the right decision in shooting Xzavier hill.