Body cam footage of Houston police-involved shooting released (GRAPHIC VIDEO)
Multiple videos of the deadly police shooting of Alva Braziel, a 38-year-old African-American man, were posted Thursday on the Houston Police Department’s YouTube page. They included police body cam footage from two responding officers and surveillance video from a convenience store from the July 9 incident in southeast Houston, Texas.
The clip, which lasted more than 18 minutes, opens with surveillance footage from the convenience store. The grainy dark image shows Braziel in the distance falling to the ground 10 seconds after a police car pulls up.
The body cam footage from the responding officers shows the aftermath of the shooting, where the officer goes up to Braziel, covered in a blood stained vest and a gun in his right hand, which is then removed by one of the officers. Viewers can hear Braziel’s labored breathing as police say they called for an ambulance.
In the video, a witnesses can be heard saying just after the shooting, "I know he pulled a gun, man, but come on."
The video is extremely graphic.
Houston police said the officers thought Braziel was flagging them down for assistance and only realized he was armed when they flashed a light on him and he pointed the gun at them.
Associated Press reported that acting police chief Martha Montalvo said that officers followed department policy by not activating their cameras, because they needed to first confront the danger that Braziel posed.
"The two officers viewed the threat to themselves and the public as immediate, stopped their patrol vehicle and exited the vehicle even before it was in park," Montalvo said in a statement. "Once the threat was contained, officers activated their cameras."
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said during a news conference on Thursday afternoon that the footage was being released to dispel claims on social media that Braziel was unarmed.
“I don’t want a single police officer shot at and hurt based on erroneous information,” Turner said. “The community and police must work hand-in-hand. We both need each other.”
Turner said that normally under state law, police video is not released until after both criminal and administrative investigations are completed. He said the deadly shootings of five officers in Dallas, Texas, and three officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have created tense relations and that releasing the footage was “in everyone’s best interest.”
"The reality is that this was not a case of an unarmed person being shot by police," he said.
Community activists and civil rights groups had been petitioning for the release of the video footage from the shooting. They said the Houston Police Department has a history of stating that every police shooting was justified in the past 11 years.
Braziel's wife, Nikita, viewed the footage before it was released to the public.
“They say he waved it at them. He didn’t wave no gun at them. You can hear the people on the side say, ‘Why is you shooting him down like that?” and then you can hear the law come back to his truck and say, ‘(Expletive).’ They (Expletive) up,” Nikita said, according to KPRC.
Nikita said the video does not show her husband point a gun at the officers. She said people will be outraged.
“It was hard to watch. I just wanted to see where he pointed the gun at them. That was not shown. What was showed was where they gunned him down,” she said.