In a first for Baltimore City, police have released body camera footage from a police-involved shooting. This incident was the Black Friday standoff in which officers shot a 48-year-old man who was wielding two knives in the Waverly neighborhood.
The footage from the body-worn cameras is very graphic. Officers can be seen surrounding the man, who was holding two knives in the 3300 block of Greenmount Avenue. Police reaffirmed today that the officers there responded after receiving a 911 call about a man threatening people at a bus stop nearby, which can be heard here:
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis had previously said that two officers at the scene shot the man after he refused to put his knives down and a taser proved to be ineffective. According to police spokesman T.J. Smith, they told him to drop the knives at least 10 times before he was shot.
“Sir, put your knives down,” one officer says repeatedly, adding at one point, “we don’t want to do this.” The standoff continues, and the man shuffles around, continuing to ignore commands from police. Around the 2:20 mark, an officer fires his taser at the man, as Davis previously noted, but it appears to have little effect. However, almost immediately after he deploys the taser, two other officers open fire with two shots. Still on his feet, the man then moves down the sidewalk, sidestepping and still holding the knives. About 10 seconds later, officers shout, “Put the knives down!” Five more gunshots then ring out. The man goes down, and police move in.
Here’s the full video (WARNING: GRAPHIC):
Afterward, an officer can be seen handcuffing the man while he lays barely moving on the ground and bleeding onto the sidewalk. Shortly after, several officers don rubber gloves, and one of the officers who shot the man (according to police spokesman T.J. Smith) begins giving him CPR. “He’s still breathing,” they note. About five minutes later, medics come in and load the man onto a stretcher.
Police identified the two officers who shot the man as Officers Gary Brown and Supreme Jones. The man who was shot still hasn’t been charged. Smith said today the man that he said during the standoff, “Hey, I got one life to live and I’m ready to give. I did my job.” The man had tried to commit suicide several times before, according to Smith.
Police also released an image of the two knives they took from the man, seen here:
Despite what blood from the video might suggest, police said the man’s injuries were non-life threatening. They’re considering giving him a further medical evaluation.
Commissioner Davis shared at the press conference that the department opted to release the video for purposes of transparency, and that he would rather face criticism for releasing the video than for having kept it from the public.