Birmingham police rescind officer's award in shooting

AP News
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Posted: Nov 04, 2015 2:49 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Police have rescinded an officer's award for a confrontation in which he shot and injured a robbery suspect following the public release of a video that showed the suspect was on the ground when wounded.

In May, when officer Daniel Agquirre received the Birmingham Police Department's Combat Cross Medal, officials said Aguirre shot a suspect who pointed a gun at him during a struggle last year.

But Al.com (http://bit.ly/1LPR2gh ) published police video late Tuesday that shows the suspect, Aubrey Williams, on his hands and knees sinking further to the ground as an officer standing above him shoots twice. The officer then kicks away a gun that was on the ground in or near a plastic bag.

The department issued a statement shortly after the video's release saying it was rescinding Aguirre's medal under further review. A department spokesman, Lt. Sean Edwards, said it wasn't clear whether an awards committee knew of the video before selecting Aguirre for the medal.

"That's the same question the chief is asking," Edwards said Wednesday. "That's all part of the review."

Williams recovered and is jailed on an attempted murder charge. He's accused of trying to kill Aguirre and another officer who was on the scene. Neither Williams nor another man, Devon Brown, was charged in the holdup for which they originally came under police scrutiny.

No trial date is set for Williams. A prosecutor said during a hearing last week that the video did not show the entire episode.

Williams' lawyer, Emory Anthony, cited the discrepancy between the video and officers' claims that Williams pointed a gun in asking a court to dismiss the charge against Williams, but a judge refused in an order that prosecutors should have the chance to present the case to jurors.

Anthony said the video never showed Williams with a gun in his hand, and the man says he was telling officers a weapon was in the plastic bag beside him when the officer opened fire.

Edwards said viewers of the video "can't really tell" where the gun was located before Aguirre began shooting.