Footage From the Fatal Police Shooting of Pr. George at His Flat Has Been Released!

Melvin Jay was standing in his family room when a Prince George’s County police officer stormed into his flat with a revolver pulled. Off lights. Drawn blinds. The corner TV shone.

Authorities revealed body-camera footage showing Jay looking away from the front door as the uniformed officer, who did not identify himself as police, called for him to show his hands. Jay entered his kitchen around a corner. The officer fired one shot, hitting the man’s face.

The two men spend around seven seconds together, from Officer Braxton Shelton entering Jay’s flat to firing his gun. Law enforcement has revealed nothing about what drove Shelton to fire at the Windham Creek Apartments on Suitland Road in the month after the Feb. 1 incident.

IID, a component of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office that investigates police killings, first reported the officer was responding to a 911 call of a breaking-and-entering at an apartment complex unit.

However, the attorney general’s office and the Prince George’s County Police Department released body-camera video and 911 call audio on Monday, providing more details of the deadly encounter that experts say will force investigators to unravel a web of miscommunications and possible police policy violations to determine if the shooting was justified or a crime.

Fatal Pr. George’s Police Shooting

According to national police shooting expert Ed Obayashi, “The primary issue in regards to whether this shooting was justified is whether or not the officer reasonably perceived an immediate threat to his safety.” “Just because you can’t see someone’s hands doesn’t mean they were a threat.”

Obayashi added that other 911 call information complicated the investigation: While away, the caller claimed a burglary at his apartment, saying his neighbor had told him a stranger was removing his possessions. Prince George’s police chief Malik Aziz said Monday that a caller’s family member assured him he would be heading to the house to recover things earlier that day.

“This fact was not shared on the 911 call for help,” Aziz claimed. The chief added that the 911 caller did not inform the operator that two others were in the flat. Jay’s family declined to comment, but authorities said they saw the body-camera tape before it was released.

The family hired the Baltimore civil rights law firm Murphy Falcon & Murphy. Freddie Gray, who died after being arrested by Baltimore City police, and William Green, who was fatally shot six times by a Prince George’s police officer while sitting in the front seat of a cruiser and handcuffed behind his back, are among the cases the firm has litigated.

“Our team has begun the initial phase of the case investigation and will refrain from providing further comments at this time,” Jay’s family’s lead attorney, Ronald Richardson, said. In a statement Monday, IID spokeswoman Thomas Lester said the state is investigating the shooting. Shelton Fraternal Order of Police attorney Shaun Owens did not respond to an email request for comment.

FOP president Angelo Consoli said union officials “await the findings of the Attorney General’s Independent Investigations Division,” but they are “confident” investigators will find “exactly what the video and the known information shows in that while no one wants to see the tragic loss of life, the officer was justified in his actions.”

Police said Shelton was summoned to the residence at 5:23 p.m. on Feb. 1. The apartment’s leaseholder, who police have not named, told a dispatcher that he was not home but a neighbor had called to report a break-in.

“I got somebody breaking and entering in my house,” the caller stated, adding that the suspected thief was stealing something from the flat and that the neighbor had said he had “dreads.” I need the police there right now,” the caller continued, “they breaking into my house.”

The caller told the dispatcher that he was “getting taken care of” for an injury at a firehouse but would soon return to his residence. Minutes later, dispatch informs patrol officers at 5:25 p.m. Shelton reacts, arriving at the peaceful Hillcrest Heights apartments at 5:27 p.m. The dispatcher reported “A caller saying he’s being told by the neighbor that someone’s breaking into his apartment.”

“Copy,” Shelton said. “I’m in the complex, hold me out.” Shelton’s body camera shows the officer exiting his cruiser and jogging to the apartment complex. After climbing the steps, he approaches the 911 caller’s slightly ajar apartment door.

The footage shows the officer pushing in the door, gun drawn, and entering the apartment without waiting for backup or announcing his presence. Obayashi said those two options diverge from normal U.S. police standards.

“It would have been standard operating procedure to wait for backup, for obvious reasons,” Obayashi added. “And then announce your intentions and see what happens.” Instead, the body-camera video captures Shelton’s first words: “Show me your hands!” He said, “Show me your hands!”

According to the footage, Shelton shouted again, “Bring your a– over here!” as Jay turned to head to the kitchen. Shelton, who had not identified himself, followed Jay around the corner with his rifle raised. “Show me your … hands,” Shelton shouts harshly. The officer fired one shot at Jay’s face, ending his sentence.

He collapsed quickly. Shelton shouted “shots fired” over his radio as a confused second guy emerged from a bedroom outside the kitchen. Shelton demanded, “Show me your hands! Who are you?

The man said he was visiting and walked out into the family room and lay down near Jay, hands stretched over his head, telling the officer that his cousin owned the flat and his brother was bleeding.

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