A Tuscaloosa, Ala., police officer who fatally shot a man carrying a “large metal spoon in a threatening manner” was wearing a body camera but did not have it turned on, The Guardian reports.
Jeffory Tevis was shot and killed last Thursday evening by officers responding to an alleged assault at his home. Tevis, who was white, reportedly got into a fight with officers. An officer used a Taser on the 50-year-old before shooting him, The Guardian notes.
Authorities acknowledged that they think Tevis was “suffering from a mental episode” or was under the influence of drugs at the time.
“He was just undergoing an extremely violent mental episode, we believe,” Police Capt. Gary Hood of the Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit told The Guardian.
As the news site notes, Tuscaloosa Police Department policy requires all officers to have their cameras on “any time there’s going to be enforcement action taken.” However, when Capt. Brad Mason was asked if the officer involved in the shooting violated policy by having his camera off, Mason did not comment, citing privacy in personnel matters.
It has reportedly been confirmed that Tevis had only the 10- to 12-inch metal spoon on him. Officers say that Tevis told the officer responding to the call that someone had assaulted him in his apartment. Another man told the officer that it was Tevis who had threatened him. There was blood on Tevis’ face and legs, but authorities believe those wounds were self-inflicted.
Tevis and the officer were reportedly talking on the balcony of the residence when Tevis allegedly hit the officer and a scuffle ensued. The officer used his Taser, but it did not have any effect. Tevis allegedly then “began charging” toward the officer and did not listen to a command to stop.
Tevis “raised his hand over his head holding the large metal spoon in a threatening manner and rushed toward the officer,” according to a Tuscaloosa County press release quoted by The Guardian, at which point the officer fired two shots, killing Tevis. The Guardian says the officer was treated for minor injuries.
A grand jury is expected to review the findings to determine whether the shooting was justified.
Read more at The Guardian.