Washington DC authorities released body camera footage Thursday of a police officer fatally shot and killed an armed black teenager hours after protesters surrounded Mayor Muriel Bowser’s home and called for the city’s police chief to step down.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Bowser said she had nothing to say to the protesters, but instead offered condolences to teenage girl Deon Kay, 18, mother. “We are certainly very sorry for your loss,” said Bowser. “I am sure she will live to see this moment again.”
At a press conference, Police Chief Peter Newsham called the shooting a tragedy and said Kay likely fell “through several safety nets”
In the disturbing footage, an officer can be seen opening fire seconds after leaving his patrol car. Kay was punched once in the chest and later died in a hospital, Newsham said.
A slowed down version of the video released by the authorities shows Kay appearing to be running towards the police officer with a gun in hand. After he was shot, Newsham said the officer saw Kay throw the gun.
In the footage, the officer can be seen looking for the weapon in a nearby meadow. It was found about 98 feet away, Newsham said.
Outraged protesters gathered in front of a police station in the southeast on Wednesday evening and sang and called Kay’s death a “murder”.
“I am sorry that we are still protesting the black killings,” said one.
According to researchers at Harvard University, black Americans are 3.2 times more likely to be killed by police than whites. Some metropolitan areas like Chicago are six times more likely to die in a fatal police operation.
Following Kay’s death, some observers pointed to Kyle Rittenhouse, the police-friendly white teenager who was accused of killing two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week.
After the shootings, when Rittenhouse passed officers armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle, police witnesses shouted that he had shot someone. The officers did not stop Rittenhouse – an answer that Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis attributed to a chaotic scene.
The officials involved in Kay’s fatal shootings were on administrative leave while federal prosecutors conducted an independent review of the shooting, Newsham said.