Baltimore, MD — For the first time since the Baltimore Police Department was equipped with 600 body cameras, they have released a video. In the graphic footage, Baltimore police officers are seen shooting a mentally ill man who appeared to pose no threat to officers at the time.
On Wednesday, police officials released the video and 911 call which led to the shooting of the unnamed mentally ill man. Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis noted that he released the video because he’d rather deal with criticism over how the police handled the situation rather than the criticism the department would face had they not released it.
“With transparency comes responsibility and it’s our responsibility, we believe, to share it with our community,” Davis said. “We believe it is making us better as an agency. We believe it is improving police-community relations and accountability.”
Following a 9-1-1 call about a mentally ill man on the street beating his cane against a pole, multiple officers responded. Only moments passed before the man would be shot.
During the 9-1-1 call, the dispatcher specifically asked the caller if the man was threatening people with knives, to which the caller responded, “no,” and only noted that the man had knives.
When police arrived, however, it appears that they escalated the situation rather than attempt to de-escalate.
Screaming at a person with a mental illness is not only futile, it only serves to further confuse, frighten, and provoke said person — especially if that person is schizophrenic.
So, instead of calming down and talking with the man, the officers in the video just barked orders.
“Put down the knife!” yell the officers, which only seems to further frighten the man.
“Hey, I got one life to live and I’m ready to give. I did my job,” says the man as he’s quickly surrounded by people aiming guns at him.
The video shows, they didn’t really attempt to do anything other than escalate to deadly force. When the first officer fired his taser, the second officer began firing his pistol almost immediately. All this served to do was to further provoke the already confused and suicidal man.
To show just how unnecessary the use of deadly force was in this incident, the Baltimore police department hasn’t even charged the man with a crime.
The officers who fired shots are identified as Gary Brown and Supreme Jones. Both of the officers remain on administrative leave while an investigation is underway.
“We support Officers Jones and Brown and commend them on their actions as they did what was necessary to protect the lives of many others, as well as their own,” Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 President Gene Ryan said in a statement.
Do the officers in the video below deserve being commended for their actions? You be the judge.