Videos show man holding knife before shooting by DC police

AP News
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Posted: Jan 04, 2017 5:43 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Body camera videos of a man who was fatally shot by District of Columbia police on Christmas Day provide only a split-second view of the knife the man was holding.

Mayor Muriel Bowser's office released video Wednesday from the body cameras worn by the officer who shot Gerald Javon Hall, 29, and another officer who was nearby.

The videos show a brief interaction, lasting less than 20 seconds, between Hall and the officer in the doorway of a home before the officer fired four shots. Just before the shooting, Hall can be seen holding a knife while standing just a few feet away from a woman who had been inside the home with him. The officer who shot Hall can be heard instructing Hall three times to put the knife down.

Hall was believed to have stabbed a woman in the arm shortly before officers arrived, according to a police report.

Just before the shooting, the woman who was in the home with Hall can be heard saying, "Please don't shoot his crazy a--." After the shooting, the video records her yelling, "No! No! No!"

The videos show the officers getting the knife out of Hall's hand before attempting to provide first aid. He died at a hospital.

Hall was black. Police have not released the names of the officers involved in the shooting, but in the videos they appear to be black.

Hall's mother, Angela McCain, told WJLA-TV after the shooting that she did not believe that her son was armed and that police used excessive force. McClain did not immediately return a telephone message on Wednesday.

Activists with the Black Lives Matter movement had demanded the release of the video and protested at the swearing-in of new D.C. Council members on Monday.

On Sept. 11, District police fatally shot an unarmed black motorcyclist, Terrence Sterling. The shooting led to sustained protests and attracted national attention from activists concerned about police brutality. Sterling's family has filed a $50 million wrongful-death lawsuit.

All patrol officers in the District are outfitted with cameras, and Bowser, a Democrat, has pledged to release video of shootings by officers when she deems it to be in the public interest. The video of Sterling's shooting only shows the aftermath of the incident because the officers involved had not turned on their cameras, an action that the mayor criticized. The police department has since established new procedures to ensure that officers activate their cameras.

The shooting of Hall is under investigation by the police department and the U.S. Attorney's office, and the officers involved are on routine administrative leave.

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