The family of Terence Caffey, a man who died during an arrest last year, claim the video footage of his arrest was edited by the police before it was shown to the public, per a report from KATV News. Family attorney Benjamin Crump said the hidden two minutes of the video left out a crucial moment leading to Caffey’s death.
A month ago, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office released 43 minutes of video footage showing the arrest of Caffey at the Movie Tavern theater for allegedly fighting an employee, the report says. According to THV11’s report, Caffey tried to escape the off-duty police officer but was pushed against the wall and held down for several minutes. Then, he was taken outside by multiple officers and held down again before being put in the car. While in transit, an officer noticed Caffey wasn’t breathing and he was taken to the hospital where reports say he died.
Crump said the moments Caffey was held down were omitted from the camera footage shown to the public.
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According to Crump’s legal team, the nearly 43 minute video released by PCSO never showed an officer holding their hand on Caffey’s neck while another placed their knee on his back. Nearly four minutes later from that vantage point, officers back Caffey up and place him into a squad car. Crump believes at this point Caffey was no longer alive.
“Our medical examiner believes he’s dead at that point, and they did put him in the car,” Crump said. “They put him in the car and its like no problem they him stay there and they all just kickin it, talking like no problem at all. Finally, one of the officers goes to check in the back of the police car with their light and they say oh we got a problem. Maybe he wasn’t just saying he can’t breathe.”
The prosecutor’s office released a letter last month saying Caffey died of a sickle cell trait crisis “during exertion,” per THV11. However, his autopsy ruled his cause of death as a homicide, further backing his family’s belief the officers had a direct hand in Caffey’s death.
The suspicion of edited footage doesn’t just concern Caffey’s death but also the grand jury’s decision. Crump’s legal team said the two minutes of video left out of the 43-minute clip were not presented to the grand jury last month—which could be the reason why no officer has been charged criminally in Caffey’s death.
Caffey’s family requested the Department of Justice to open an investigation into Terence’s death.