Body camera footage shows Memphis officer shoot fleeing suspect
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — More than a year after an officer-involved shooting at a Frayser shopping center, WREG has obtained body camera footage from the day of the incident.
The footage, from September 20, 2017, shows an officer yell at then-21-year-old Davonte Weatherford, “You run again I’m gonna kill you!”
You can then hear two gunshots before you see Weatherford laying on the ground on his back. Officers shout at him not to move and when they ask him where his gun is, he points to one by his side.
After police have Weatherford roll onto his stomach, you can see where a bullet entered his back.
“I think it’s morally appalling to shoot someone because they were simply fleeing,” said Paul Garner, director of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center.
Garner admits it's difficult to understand the full context since the video doesn't show whether Weatherford pointed his gun at officers.
Garner has mixed thoughts about what happens next in the video. Officers are seen comforting Weatherford and working to save him.
"That's an example of the kind of law enforcement we want to see," Garner said.
"The fact that someone did the right thing after the wrong thing was done I don't think justifies the wrong thing," he added.
Weatherford pleaded guilty Tuesday to reckless endangerment and theft charges since the gun he was carrying was reported stolen.
Memphis police have previously denied requests to see the body camera footage and WREG was only able to obtain it Wednesday because someone posted it to Facebook.
Just this week, MPD denied WREG's requests to see body camera footage in two different cases citing an ongoing investigation, which Garner said points to a bigger problem.
"We also encourage people to exercise their right to film police because that may be the only footage we ever see," he said.
MPD did not return a request for comment on the video and hasn't said if the officer in the video faced any disciplinary action.