Washington police release video of fatal shooting of Black man

Shooting of Deon Kay prompted protests in US capital amid increased nationwide scrutiny over police.

epa08642850 Protesters face off with MPD officers at the 7th District police station after an officer shot and killed a man in southeast Washington, DC, USA, 02 September 2020. An MPD officer shot and
Protesters face-off with police officers on September 2 at a Washington, DC police station after an officer shot and killed a man in the city's southeast [Shawn Thew/EPA]

Police in Washington, DC, on Thursday released body camera footage of the fatal shooting of a young Black man in the city’s southeast, which ignited protests in the US capital.

The killing on Wednesday of 18-year-old Deon Kay prompted a late-night face-off between the police and dozens of protesters outside a city police station.

In the police footage, an officer can be seen getting out of a vehicle and running between parked cars while shouting “Don’t move”. A single gunshot is heard and a man is then seen falling to the ground.

The police department said Kay had “brandished a firearm” at officers.

But protesters took to the streets again on Thursday morning to demand accountability for the shooting, which comes amid a nationwide protest movement decrying police violence against Black people and increased scrutiny over police tactics.

Chanting “say his name”, “Deon Kay” and “no justice, no sleep”, protesters marched to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s residence, calling on her to fire the Washington, DC police chief, local television news station NBC4 reported.

In a news conference later on Thursday, Bowser offered her condolences to Kay’s family and said an investigation was under way.

“Our community is hurting and we know that they want answers,” she said. “We are still gathering all the facts and [the Metropolitan Police Department] and my administration will conduct a full investigation of this incident.”

The chief of the MPD, Peter Newsham, on Thursday said Kay was one of two people who fled when approached by uniformed officers who were investigating reports of a man with a gun in the area.

“Two individuals fled on foot and officers pursued them, one of those men brandished a firearm from his waistband as he was fleeing,” Newsham said during the news conference.

“In response, an MPD officer discharged his service weapon firing a single shot at the individual.”

Calls for reform

Police said the other man, who escaped from police, and Kay were taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

In a statement on Wednesday, police included pictures of the handgun they said Kay had been carrying, as well as of the gun of another of his companions who was arrested.

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.”

On Wednesday night, videos posted on social media showed dozens of enraged protesters jostling with a line of police officers, who used bicycles to help form a barrier in front of the station.

Police killings of Black people have sparked nationwide protests and calls for sweeping police reform, prompting local efforts by the DC Council to bring greater transparency to such incidents.

In June, following the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, the council passed emergency legislation requiring the MPD to release any body camera footage from fatal shootings or use-of-force incidents within five days. The department must also release the names of the officers involved.

In July, the city released body camera footage from three separate fatal incidents dating back to 2018.

Kay’s shooting also comes after the release of a video showing a deadly incident involving police in Rochester, New York.

Daniel Prude, a Black man, died of suffocation in March after a group of police officers put a hood over his head and then pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes. Prude died seven days after the incident occurred when he was taken off life support.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies