Five Alabama police officers are on leave and one man is dead after the deceased man’s family reportedly witnessed cops shoot him at a local gym.
AL.com reports that two police officers shot and killed 39-year-old Dana Sherrod Fletcher outside of Planet Fitness in Madison, Ala., around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. Police say they shot Fletcher after Madison County police officers responded to a “suspicious person” call from someone at the gym. WHNT reports that the caller said, “Fletcher and a woman were inside the gym videoing people and asking personal questions.”
The Root could not find an Alabama statute that outlaws videotaping or talking to white people.
According to police, Fletcher struggled with the officers and police tasered him. “The less-than-lethal (taser) was not effective and the struggling Fletcher exited the car with the gun in his hand and pointed at officers,” Madison County Sheriff Chief Deputy Stacy Bates said in a statement. “Two Madison police officers fired their weapons and Fletcher was struck. The officers attempted first-aid on Fletcher, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.”
But a Facebook post by the deceased victim’s wife contradicts the police narrative. Cherrelle Fletcher insists that her husband was unarmed during the incident and that the two did nothing wrong.
“I am the wife of the victim that was shot and killed at planet fitness in madison al earlier,” the post begins. “I was sitting in the driver seat of the van during the entire incident.”
Cherrelle adds that the officer tried to stop her husband from closing his door and grabbed Dana as another officer released a dog. At the same time, Dana claims another officer broke her window with a billy club, and pulled her out of the van headfirst while holding her daughter, injuring the child in the process.
“AT NO POINT WAS HE ARMED,” Cherelle writes. “HE WAS UNARMED DURING THE ENTIRE TIME. HE WAS UNARMED!”
Cherelle notes that Dana did not run and that his body was lying beside the vehicle after he was shot. “I saw the officers shoot him and I saw his body on the ground covered in blood...There was no crimes committed. My family and I were there so I could workout.”
The five officers involved were wearing body cameras and were subsequently placed on leave. Police say footage from a nearby business shows Fletcher with a gun that was recovered at the scene. Dana Fletcher was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Root has reached out to Cherelle Fletcher, the Madison Police Department and the Madison County sheriff. The Madison Police Department has turned over all evidence to an independent investigation agency:
The Madison County Sheriff’s Department.