This happens to be the first body-camera footage to be released by police authorities following Baltimore cops shooting.
Baltimore, MD — For the first time since the Baltimore Police Department was equipped with 600 body cameras, they have released a video, The free Thought Project states. In the graphic footage, Baltimore cops are seen shooting a mentally ill man who appeared to pose no threat to officers at the time.
On Wednesday, police officials released the video and 911 call which led to the shooting of the unnamed mentally ill man. Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis noted that he released the video because he’d rather deal with criticism over how the police handled the situation rather than the criticism the department would face had they not released it.
“With transparency comes responsibility and it’s our responsibility, we believe, to share it with our community,” Davis said. “We believe it is making us better as an agency. We believe it is improving police-community relations and accountability.”
Following a 9-1-1 call about a mentally ill man on the street beating his cane against a pole, multiple officers responded. Only moments passed before the man would be shot.
— Anonymous News (@Anon_Eu) December 2, 2016
During the 9-1-1 call, the dispatcher specifically asked the caller if the man was threatening people with knives, to which the caller responded, “no,” and only noted that the man had knives.
When police arrived, however, it appears that they escalated the situation rather than attempt to de-escalate.
Screaming at a person with a mental illness is not only futile, it only serves to further confuse, frighten, and provoke said person — especially if that person is schizophrenic.
So, instead of calming down and talking with the man, the officers in the video just barked orders.
The video shows five officers surrounding a 48-year-old black man, who is holding a Marine tactical rescue pocket knife in each hand, while telling him approximately 10 times to put down his weapons, according to the Daily Mail.
That request is ignored by the man, who appears to be dancing on the sidewalk throughout the exchange and eventually says to the officers: ‘Hey, I got one life to live and I’m ready to give it. I did my job.’
One of the officers threatens to use a stun gun on the man, which either misses the or has no affect on him as he continues to dance.
Seconds later, two shots ring out, which also either miss the man or do not slow him down as he gets back to dancing on the sidewalk while police again tell him to drop his weapons.
— True Blue Line (@TrueBlueLine) December 2, 2016
The entire time he does not lunge towards police or get particularly close to the men, and instead just shuffles along while always facing the officers on the scene and holding his knives out to the side of his body.
Then, at least five shots are fired at the man, causing him to immediately fall to the ground.
The officers, with their guns still drawn, are first seen approaching the man as he lays bleeding out on the sidewalk after the gunshots.
One of the men then quickly puts him in handcuffs while at the same time laying him face down on the pavement.
Some of the officers can also be heard during this time voicing their concerns about getting the man’s blood on their uniforms.
The Baltimore cops then step away from a moment while the man’s blood continues to spread on the sidewalk, then return as one of the men prepared to administer CPR.
‘Keep breathing, buddy,’ says one of the officers to the man, whose hands are still cuffed and over his head.
After being treated on the scene the man was taken to a nearby hospital where he is in stable condition and under police watch.
The cop who is seen resuscitating the man in the video has been identified as Officer Supreme Jones, who is also one of the two men who opened fire.
The two Baltimore cops are on administrative leave in the wake of the incident, and the State’s Attorney’s Office is conducting an investigation to determine if any charges will be filed in the case.
Police have equipped about 600 officers with cameras since May. The city has approved spending $11.6 million over five years to provide all 2,500 officers with cameras by 2018, The Baltimore Sun reports.
Police say the cameras allow the department to more accurately record what takes place during police shootings and other incidents. Researchers say they give the public more transparency when officers’ accounts are questioned, and also act as a reminder for officers to follow procedures and stay within the bounds of law.
Across the Baltimore region, police departments are testing or buying the cameras as police officers nationwide face more scrutiny in the wake of the high-profile shootings of unarmed black men.
Davis told City Council members at a Public Safety Committee meeting last week that overall complaints against officers have fallen 20 percent this year, from 729 last year to 584. He said complaints about officers using unnecessary force are down 38 percent, from 135 to 84.
Davis said 19 officers have been fired or are in the process of being fired this year after being found in violation of department policies. Lawsuits against the department for civil rights violations are at a five-year low, the commissioner said.
It’s quite comforting to know the PD understands the responsibility should follow but will it really? Usually the corrective measures applied to officers are rather limited. No matter you think of Baltimore cops, watch this video once again and if you don’t want to see your blood on the pavement one day, take action!