Police in Fairfax County, Virginia, on Friday released body camera footage of last weekend’s incident in which officers ordered a juvenile holding a phone to the ground at gunpoint.
At a news conference Friday, Police Chief Kevin Davis provided more details surrounding the video, which went viral last week.
The unarmed juvenile recorded his approach toward officers who were detaining two other people before he is told by the cops at gunpoint to get on the ground. In the original video posted to social media, the juvenile can be heard asking why an officer has pointed a gun at him — “because you have a weapon,” that officer replies.
In the body-cam footage, another officer approaches and yells at the teen to drop his phone.
“If you just go by this viral video that kind of popped last weekend, I think there’s an assumption that this person was a (passerby). He was not a (passerby),” Davis said.
The chief said the person who recorded the video was one of three whom the police were chasing after receiving a 911 call from a hostess at an IHOP in Falls Church, July 9. The hostess told police “a crowd that included a person possibly armed with a gun” was walking around the restaurant threatening her, Davis said.
When officers arrived, Davis said, three juveniles ran away from the restaurant. Officers detained two of them right away.
“It’s a serious thing to point a firearm at a person,” Davis said. “So I understand the anxiety that folks in the community have after seeing this video go viral … we want you to be concerned when you see a video like that.”
Since 2018, Fairfax County police have been capturing the number of times an officer points their firearm at a person. “Not every police department in the country does this,” Davis said.
Davis maintained that officers acted “lawfully and in accordance with policies and … the community’s expectations.”
The three juveniles have been released to their parents; they haven’t been charged. No gun has been found.
The chief said that over the last decade, Fairfax County police have averaged 1.5 police shootings a year. Last year, he said, they had one. So far this year, the number stands at four.
On July 7, the police shot and killed a man in a house in McLean. On June 30, they shot and killed a man in the parking lot of the Springfield Town Center. Davis said body camera footage of each of those shootings would be released within 30 days of the incident, as per department policy.