DC releases bodycam footage of police shooting; man’s sister confronts mayor at news conference

Officials in D.C. on Friday released body-worn camera footage showing the moment an officer fatally shot a man last weekend, saying the video doesn’t answer all the questions about the shooting but that an investigation is ongoing.

The footage was released by D.C. police Friday morning, and is also being reviewed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C., which will determine whether the officer will face criminal charges in the shooting death of Kevin Hargraves-Shird, 31.

The officer has been identified as Sgt. Reinaldo Otero-Camacho, a 17-year veteran of the police department, who has been on administrative leave since the shooting.

“Unfortunately, as is often the case or sometimes the case, the body-worn camera footage doesn’t answer all the questions we have or that the community will have,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said during a news conference Friday, at which she was interrupted several times by members of Hargraves-Shird’s family. “We released this footage so that the community can see what we see.”

The video shows Otero-Camacho pursuing a white sedan police said was fleeing the scene of an earlier shooting Saturday, July 30, that left two teens wounded.

The sedan crashed into a curb near 2nd and Madison streets near Fort Slocum Park, in Northwest. The video shows the officer pulling out his gun as he pulls up behind the car, then stepping out of the driver’s side door, shouting “gun, gun, gun, gun, gun,” and firing a single shot.

Three or four seconds before the officer fires, the video appears to show Hargraves-Shird running away from the officer, but the view of the camera is obscured by the officer’s door frame in the seconds directly leading up the shooting.

This screenshot of the body-worn camera footage depicts what happened three to four seconds before the officer fired. The camera is obscured at the time the officer actually fires. (Courtesy D.C. police)

After the shooting, the video shows Hargraves-Shird lying on the grass in Fort Slocum Park, several yards away from where the officer fired. Police said they found a loaded semi-automatic 9 mm pistol near his body.

“I’m sure, you know, there are questions about whether it was justified or unjustified,” D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said. “We’re nowhere near being able to make that determination.”

He added: “Members of the public will see that same video and make 100 different conclusions on that. But I think we have to allow the investigation to continue.”

Following the U.S. attorney’s investigation, he said, the department will conduct its own internal investigation.

At several points, during the news conference Friday, the mayor and police chief were interrupted by family members of Hargraves-Shird, including his sister, Serena Hargraves. She claimed the video she was shown doesn’t show the officer shouting out ‘gun” five times before the shooting and also disputed that a gun was found near her brother’s body.

“That’s my brother!” she said, when the mayor began taking questions from reporters.

It’s unclear why the officer shouted out “gun” before the shooting. Contee said it could be a “command of warning” to alert other officers nearby. However, at that point there were no other officers on the scene.

There was also a moon bounce with children on it nearby at the time of the shooting. “I don’t know if the warning was for them,” Contee said, adding, “Certainly we want to know the answer to that right now.”

During the news conference, Contee also described the events leading up to the shooting.

Shortly after 4 p.m. on July 30, police said two dark-colored cars pulled up in the 900 block of Longfellow Street in Northwest and opened fire on a group, leaving a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old with gunshot wounds in an Auto Zone parking lot.

Just minutes later, a 911 caller told police the suspected shooter was spotted in a nearby alley tossing something — later discovered to be a gun — under a vehicle, the police chief said. When officers were still on the scene interviewing the witness who called 911, they spotted the suspected shooter and gave chase. Officers saw him jumping into a white sedan with several other people inside and speeding off, Contee said.

After a lookout was broadcast on police radio, Otero-Camacho spotted the white sedan and began pursuing it. After the car crashed into the curb near Fort Slocum Park, three people jumped out and ran off through the park. Contee said police have still not identified those three people.

Contee said Hargraves-Shird was in the driver’s seat and exited the car shortly before Otero-Camacho arrived.

Asked by a reporter about the officer’s decision to pursue the sedan, Contee said, “What do we expect the police to do in situations where we have two juveniles that are shot and we have a vehicle fleeing from the scene?”

He added, “I think it’s really kind of unfair to say that police officers, following a shooting of two juveniles in our community … shouldn’t pursue in that case.”

WTOP’s Nick Iannelli contributed to this report.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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