FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – An officer-involved shooting in Fort Worth on June 9 ended with the death of a 20-year-old man. Today officials released body camera footage of the shooting of JaQuavion Slaton.
During a morning press conference the department showed body camera video of the scene on June 9 in the Stop Six area of the city. It was that day when police say they responded to a disturbance call involving a person with a warrant.
Officers say they searched for the suspect and saw the man get into a vehicle with two other people. According to police, when a traffic stop was attempted two people inside the vehicle, one of them Slaton, jumped out and ran.
Officers found one suspect hiding beneath a vehicle in the backyard of a house in the 5000 block of East Berry Street. He was taken custody without incident.
After showing the body cam video of that arrest, and before showing the recording of Slaton’s shooting, Chief Kraus said, “I show you that video to illustrate that our officers weren’t on a mission to take anyone’s life that day.”
Officers later found Slaton sitting in a vehicle parked in the backyard of a house.
Before showing the shooting footage Chief Kraus said, “There’s an expectation that body camera video is going to provide clear, specific details that give a definitive view of what happened, that is simply not the case in this situation.” The Chief said Slaton’s position in the vehicle obstructs the angle of the body cameras and that officer’s had a different view of the incident.
The body cam video played during the press conference shows a white truck or SUV surrounded by officers with their guns drawn and a person inside. The police officers are heard screaming expletive-laden commands to the person to put his hands up and put down the gun.
As officers continue yelling commands a flash of light is seen inside the vehicle and officers begin shooting – ultimately firing more than a dozen rounds.
“Slaton raised a handgun. Our officers perceived that as a threat and reacted. They gave him several lawful orders and unfortunately he failed to comply,” Chief Kraus said after playing the video. “The evidence collected on the scene indicates that Slaton had a loaded handgun on his person at the time of his death. Slaton fired his weapon, as there was a spent shell casing found inside the pickup truck that is consistent with the ammo found in his weapon, and the weapon found in Slaton’s possession is a different caliber than any other weapon that was on the scene that day.”
Several pedestrians can be seen in the video and the Chief said officers initially went behind the vehicle Slaton was in, but felt that could put citizens in danger. He said the officers moved to the front of the vehicle to use themselves as a barrier between Slaton and the public.
Rev. Kyev Tatum, a local community leader also offered his opinion on the video released by Fort Worth police saying the actions were “ruthless.”
Tatum (who was part of a group of community citizens who helped draft new policy on police use of force) said their new guidelines were not met in this shooting.
“Put time and distance between you and talk it out,” said Tatum.
Tatum believes since Slaton was hiding in the truck and police knew his location they should have surrounded him, and convinced him to surrender. He said the training they all took suggests when you have time and distance on your hand that is the proper tactic to take.
Rev. Tatum added, “Instead of them following the training that we went through together. Instead of following the general orders that we wrote together they decided to do it their way.”
The case will be forwarded to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office and an internal affairs investigation will be conducted.