Body camera video shows shot officer asking man to drop gun

AP News
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Posted: Oct 07, 2015 4:20 PM

CLEVELAND (AP) — A dramatic and disturbing video recorded by a police body camera shows Cleveland patrol officers, including one whose ballistic vest had been struck by gunfire, trying to convince a man to drop his gun before four other officers shot him to death.

One of the videos released Wednesday shows Theodore Johnson shooting at the officers. One of the rounds struck the chest area of Patrolman David Muniz's ballistic vest. Another video, recorded by Muniz's body camera, shows a despondent Johnson telling officers that he wants to die.

"I know you just shot me, but I'm not going to shoot you," Muniz tells Johnson.

Johnson says he doesn't care. "Do what you do, man."

Seconds later, Johnson raises the gun and the officers open fire.

The video was released by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty the day after he announced that a grand jury had determined that the four officers were justified in using lethal force against Johnson on March 11.

Police went to Johnson's home that night after his wife went to a police station and told officers that Johnson had threatened to kill her and their landlady.

Video from an officer's body camera shows Johnson, 64, step out of a doorway and fire down at the officers as they climbed the steps toward his second-floor apartment. The officers retreat to the downstairs apartment and Muniz is heard yelling that he'd been hit.

Muniz's body camera records him and the other officers in a standoff with Johnson, who is holding a gun to his side, on the first floor. Johnson tells the officers to kill him.

Officers scream at Johnson to drop the gun.

Muniz, who is standing only 5 or 6 feet away, extended in a firing position, tells Johnson: "Put the gun down. We don't want to kill you. Just drop the gun."

"I wanna die," Johnson says.

"No, you don't want to die," Muniz replies.

When officers tell Johnson they'll get him help, he responds that he doesn't want or need it.

McGinty in a statement praised the officers for their "remarkable restraint."

"These officers are commended for responding with courage and for heroically fulfilling their duty to protect the public," McGinty said.

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This story has been corrected to show the suspect was shot by the four other officers, not officer Muniz. It also has been corrected to show that Johnson's wife reported the threat at a police station, not a 911 call.