Once again, cops positioned themselves in front of an oncoming car before shooting the driver to death, claiming they were in fear for their lives.
However, the body camera footage released Tuesday shows Lymond Moses was driving away from police when he was shot to death.
No wonder it took the New Castle County Police Department in Delaware two months to release the video. And only after intense pressure from Moses’ family and the local chapter of the NAACP.
Nevertheless, the Delaware News Journal quoted a “use-of-force expert” who claimed the shooting was justified because the car is a “dangerous instrument” – even if it was trying to veer away from the officers.
But in a similar case last week, a Texas grand jury indicted Austin police officer Christopher Taylor for shooting and killing a man last year who was driving away from cops, claiming he was in fear for his life.
The video in that case shows the victim, Michael Ramos, was standing outside his car with his hands in the air, trying to follow police orders when he was shot with a bean bag, which prompted him to get back in his car and drive away, resulting in Taylor shooting him to death.
The Delaware shooting took place on January 13 at 1 a.m. after cops came across Lymond who was sleeping inside his car which was parked on the curb of a residential neighborhood.
Police say Lymond had the car turned on so one cop reached in with his baton and turned it off which is when Moses woke up, startled to see his car surrounded by three cops.
The cops told him they were investigating a rash of stolen cars in the area. Moses told him his car was not stolen and he was, in fact, parked in front of his mother’s house.
But the cops spotted marijuana inside his car so they ordered him to step out which is when he drove off.
However, he ended up driving down a dead-end street so he made a u-turn and tried to drive past the cops by angling away from them but was shot to death.
The Police PR Spin Machine went into immediate effect after the shooting with New Castle County cops telling local media that Lymond “made a U-turn and drove at a high rate of speed directly at the officers.”
Now that the video has been released, they are acting as if they had not seen it when issuing their initial statement.
“Our understanding of the incident may change as additional evidence is collected, analyzed and reviewed,” New Castle County Police Lieutenant Brian Faulkner told the News Journal.
“Based upon this video, we cannot draw any conclusions as to whether the officers acted within policy and the law until all the facts are known and the investigation is complete.”
But the so-called use-of-force expert interviewed by the News Journal certainly came to the conclusion that cops did no wrong which is not surprising for a man who has been a “law enforcement training coordinator” since 1983, according to his LinkedIn page.
Ken Cooper, a use-of-force expert and director of Tactical Handgun Training of New York, a facility that trains public safety and security officers, said it appears police acted correctly. He said Moses’ car was a “dangerous instrument.”
Cooper, who reviewed the video, agreed with the officers’ initial de-escalation tactics, saying they smartly turned the car off and were clear with their verbal commands. In the video, he said officers were obviously trying to calm Moses down.
Moses, Cooper said, became the escalator when he failed to comply, turned the car back on and fled.
Cooper said it did not matter what Moses’ intent was as he fled from the dead-end. The officer furthest from the vehicle who fires his weapon is empowered, Cooper said, to protect his partner.
“If you perceive as a police officer that this could result in the death of another person, you have the right to act,” Cooper said.
“It’s a 4,000-pound bullet.”
The problem with Cooper’s assessment is that as dangerous cars can be, cops in these situations never fail to plant themselves in front of the car to give themselves and excuse to kill.
Another red flag is how hard New Castle County cops tried to keep the video from going public because there is no doubt they would have wasted no time in releasing it had it shown Moses deliberately trying to run them over.
“While transparency and public trust are essential between the police department and the citizens we serve, choosing to release this video now undermines the credibility of any future legal proceedings that may arise from this incident,” the local police union said in a statement.
In other words, it will be much more difficult to spin the truth in the court of law now that the video is going before the court of public opinion.
Watch the edited video above or the unedited footage along with the police explanation released by the New Haven County Police Department.