Back in August, Albuquerque police officers fired 16 fatal rounds at Keshawn Thomas, 27, who was drunk, sleeping in his car, reports say. Although, according to The Daily Beast, a policing expert found after reviewing the body camera footage that it was the officers who instigated a heated interaction with Thomas moments before the incident.
On Aug. 28, Thomas was sleeping in his green Camaro at a gas station when the officers approached him after being called by an employee, per the Albuquerque Journal. The report says they were concerned Thomas’ car had been at the station for hours. The officers woke him and told him to get out of the car. They asked him to take a seat to which Thomas, visibly intoxicated, refused, per the footage. The officers then asked if he had an open container in the car and threatened him that they could do this ”the hard way.”
“Alright my dude. I haven’t give you guys a hard time, shoot,” Thomas said in the footage.
“Yeah you did. I told you to take a seat, you said no, then you want to play fucking dumb and say you don’t have an open container when it’s right there in the cup holder,” the officer responds in the footage.
Read the expert’s response to the footage via The Daily Beast:
“This is bad,” argued Dr. Kalfani Turè, a policing expert, assistant professor at Mount St. Mary’s University and fellow at Yale, upon reviewing footage supplied by The Daily Beast. “And I would place all the liability at the foot of Albuquerque PD.”
Then, later, a cop asks, “What that fuck’s your problem?” Thomas begins to respond in kind.
“Don’t ask me what the fuck my problem is … don’t hit me with aggression cause that’s not the way fucking police work.“
Turè, the policing expert, suggested Thomas was spot on in his (less-than-sober) analysis.
“He calls it,” Turé told The Daily Beast. “I’m just sitting here like, ‘He calls it. He’s like, ‘That’s not how policing is supposed to be.’ He’s expecting professionalism and he’s not getting it.”
It’s unclear what happened right before the shooting, however, the three officers allege Thomas was rummaging for a gun in his front seat. The expert, Turè, noted this allegation was really a reflection of the officers’ missteps in their procedure. The Albuquerque Police Department acknowledged the police didn’t display the most professional conduct though they didn’t even show the entirety of the interaction from the body camera footage.
Per the footage, Thomas notifies them he has a gun (legally owned) in the trunk of his car and hands one officer a pistol magazine from his pocket. “From a tactical perspective, why is he being allowed back in the vehicle, after evidence that a weapon is found already in his pocket?” said Ian Adams, policing expert from University of South Carolina, to The Daily Beast.