Deon Kay bodycam video release shows Washington D.C police officer Alexander Alvarez fatally shoot fleeing black man. Social media heatedly debates use of deadly force.
Washington D.C. police have released bodycam footage showing the moment officers shot dead an 18-year-old black man after he allegedly brandished a gun during a police chase – sparking protests across the city.
Deon Kay died on Wednesday after he was shot in the chest by a Metropolitan Police officer identified on Thursday as Alexander Alvarez. Prior to the release of bodycam video, claims had been made the ‘fleeing youth’ had been shot in the back.
Authorities said Kay was one of two people who fled on Wednesday afternoon when approached by uniformed cops investigating reports of a man with a gun near the 200 block of Orange Street.
Police Chief Peter Newsham said officers had seen a livestream video on social media of a man with a gun and recognized him from ‘previous contacts.’
He said Kay was ‘validated gang member’ from the area and had had multiple brushes with the law in the past.
BREAKING: Body camera footage just released from yesterday’s fatal shooting of 18yo Deon Kay in DC. The officer could have used “less-lethal tactics” but chose to SHOOT him instead… Even after he threw his gun on the ground. We need police reform NOW. #JusticeForDeonKay pic.twitter.com/4QR4htb82Q
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) September 3, 2020
‘Don’t move! Don’t move!’
During the foot pursuit, Kay allegedly pulled out a weapon, prompting the officer to open fire in response, the MPD said.
Body camera footage released on Thursday has shed light on the events leading up to the fatal shooting which comes amid nationwide protests and calls for sweeping police reform.
In an 11-minute video clip, cops are seen chasing Kay near an apartment complex in southeast D.C. before encountering him with their weapons drawn.
The officer can be heard telling the teen, ‘Don’t move! Don’t move!’ multiple times as Kay brandishes a gun only to then toss the weapon ’98 feet away’.
The footage shows the officer firing one round, striking Kay in the chest, causing him to collapse on the ground.
The cop is then seen searching for the gun near a grassy area where it was thrown, as he explains what happened to two other cops as they arrive at the scene.
It marks the first fatal police-involved shooting in D.C. since new police reform laws went into effect earlier this year.
‘Deon Kay fell through multiple safety nets’
The incident is currently under investigation and the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, per MPD policy.
During a press conference on Thursday, Police Chief Peter Newsham said Kay was known to officers by name.
‘I know he’s a validated gang member from the area and I know that he has had multiple touches with the criminal justice system,’ he said.
‘This is a tragedy… to have any young person killed in the District of Columbia.
‘I’m pretty sure Deon Kay fell through multiple safety nets before yesterday afternoon,’ Newsham added.
The police chief declined to elaborate on Kay’s previous offenses when asked by a reporter.
Social media heatedly debates use of lethal force
He also said the other man who fled during the incident escaped from police and remains at large.
Two other men, Marcyelle Smith, 19, and Deonte Brown, 18, were arrested and charged in Wednesday’s incident.
Smith was charged with carrying a pistol without a license and Brown was charged with no permit.
Two firearms were collected as evidence, including one ‘ghost gun’, according to Newsham.
A police statement on Wednesday included pictures of the handgun they say Kay had been carrying, as well of the gun of another of his companions who was arrested.
In the hours after Wednesday afternoon’s shooting, demonstrators had gathered, staging a rally outside the mayor’s home and the MPD’s 7th District headquarters overnight, where they had come, ‘demanding answers’ to yet another fatality of a black man at the hands of authority.
Following the shooting, the local Black Lives Matter affiliate called for immediate protests outside the MPD’s 7th District headquarters, stating in a tweet, ‘DC police murdered a Black man today.’
Earlier Kay’s mother Natasha told The Washington Post: ‘They took my baby, they just took my baby from me. I need my son back, I want my son back.’
Kay, who had just turned 18, had recently gotten into a high school equivalency program, youth mentor Omar Jackson told the Post.
Nation disintegrating into race war?
He said the teen ‘was trying to navigate through this chaotic situation out here’ and ‘get himself together.’
The shooting comes as police killings of black people have sparked nationwide protests and calls for sweeping police reform.
Black Lives Matter D.C. on Wednesday tweeted: ‘Don’t let MPD control the narrative! Police lie! We’re on our way.’ Footage from the scene shows protesters confronting officers outside a police precinct.
The shooting comes a day after Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said she fears the US is ‘descending into a race war’ amid ongoing violence, crime and rioting in the community and across various cities throughout the United States.