Video showing a rookie cop shooting a black teenager in the back as the 18-year-old was running away seems to contradict previous statements by the officer involved, who said on camera that the shooting victim had pointed a gun at the officer.
On Oct. 29, Portsmouth, Va., Police Officer Jeremy Durocher responded to a burglary call and found Deontrace Ward allegedly burglarizing the home, according to the Virginian-Pilot.
The video begins with Durocher’s gun already drawn. As soon as he spots Ward, Durocher begins opening fire. Apparently gifted with extrasensory perception, Durocher yells, “He has a gun!” as he pursues Ward, shooting an additional three times.
When Ward is felled by the gunshots and handcuffed by other officers, who cannot find a gun, Durocher continues to insist that the subject waved a gun. Ward can be heard saying, “I can’t breathe,” to which a female officer responds, “You’ll be fine.”
Another female officer confiscates Durocher’s sidearm, telling him she had to do it. A second later, a male officer takes Durocher’s gun from the woman and gives Durocher another gun, explaining, “He’s got to have one.”
Police say they found a .45-caliber handgun in Ward’s pants between his knees and ankles. The 18-year-old, who still has a bullet lodged in his abdomen, says that he never pointed the gun or had it in his hands during the altercation. “I was just pretty much trying to get away. Showing no aggression,” he told the Virginian-Pilot.
Police refused to release the video on the grounds that there was an ongoing investigation. Ward’s defense attorneys finally obtained a copy of it in early April and released it to the family and the public.
Ward has been in jail since the incident and is set to stand trial May 1 on charges that include armed burglary, assault of a police officer and possession of a weapon by a felon. Ward was found guilty of felony theft when he was 17.
The shooting is being investigated by the Virginia State Police. Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales says she will wait to determine whether she will press charges.
Since I was also born with the same gift of ESP as Durocher, and the skepticism of someone who has seen too many officers get away with shooting black men because they felt their lives were in danger, I can tell you that Morales likely won’t file charges. Even if Durocher shot a man in the back who was running away from him, Durocher has nothing to worry about. Trust me ...
He’ll be fine.