Yet another police department is in the headlines after a video contradicted its initial account of how a cop shot and killed an unarmed black man.
Just one day after a mobile phone video of the killing of Walter Scott by a police officer in South Carolina prompted outrage across the country, another video was released of a similar incident in Florida.
When police in Miami Gardens shot dead Lavall Hall back in February, authorities initially claimed Hall was armed and attacking them. But newly-released dash cam video made public shows a far different series of events.
Police insisted Hall was holding a broomstick, a claim that neighbours have refuted. His family also claims the 25-year-old was mentally ill.
“When I look, he ain’t have nothing in his hand,” neighbour Tyrone Bennett told local television station WLRN. “He had on boxers and a undershirt.”
In both this incident and the Walter Scott shooting, police said they fired Taser guns at the suspects but no evidence has surfaced to support the claims.
“There’s no question when you see this video that the officers used excessive force in dealing with an individual who had mental issues,” family attorney Glen Goldberg said at a Wednesday press conference, according to Fusion.
The video does not show Hall but Catherine Daniels, his mother, can be heard pleading with cops: “Don’t shoot my baby.”
An officer can be seen backing across the video from left to right firing several shots at Hall. Police can be heard mocking Daniels’ cries for mercy.
The disturbing footage does not show any tasers being fired. It paints a damning picture against the Florida police department. All shots fired from the stun guns are required to be recorded by local departments. Investigators have asked for those records, according to Goldberg.
Family also insisted during the press conference that officers knew Hall was mentally unstable. Daniels called officers the previous week over her son’s behaviour, she said.
The police department issued the following statement regarding the footage being made public.
“City of Miami Gardens released video from the dashboard camera of a city vehicle, as well as the video from the rear camera of a City of Miami Gardens vehicle. The release of these videos represents the Department’s complete response to Ms. Daniels’ request.”
The South Charleston officer also involved in the Scott shooting also made false claims about why he fired shots. That cop has been charged with murder.
It is not clear if Florida authorities will charge the officer who shot Hall.
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