Denver cops opened fire on a suspect in a crowded area after the man had tossed a gun aside, shooting the suspect along with six other innocent bystanders.
Denver police said the man pointed a gun at them, prompting two officers to open fire.
But body camera footage released Tuesday show the suspect, Jordan Waddy, tossed the gun aside moments before the cops opened fire.
The video also shows Waddy, 21, raised his hands above his head when confronted by police, then walked from the street to the sidewalk where he reached into the front pocket of his hoodie and grabbed the gun to toss it aside. The victims all survived the shooting.
On Tuesday, Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said she would bring the case before a grand jury to decide if charges should be filed against the officers, drawing criticism from Waddy’s attorney.
“The DA could look at the tape and bring charges,” Tyrone Glover told Westworld. “We’ve seen what happens when these kinds of things involve officers. They don’t always come back fair.”
The incident took place at 1:30 a.m. on July 17 in front of a crowded bar called Larimer Beer Hall within the city’s downtown entertainment district. The bystanders were mostly customers who were leaving the bar, waiting in line at a food truck.
Denver police said they initially spotted Waddy fighting with another man. They also say they spotted a gun in his pocket.
An overhead security video shows the cops walked up the street parallel to Waddy after the fight as he made his way up the sidewalk through the heavy crowd. At one point, Waddy steps into the street and is greeted by the cops.
The body cams released contain no audio until after shots were fired because the cops did not turn on their cameras until afterwards. The cameras have a buffer to record video about 30 seconds before the cameras are turned on.
Waddy was charged with three counts of weapon possession by a previous offender and one count of third-degree assault.
McCann, the district attorney, issued the following statement:
“The public’s interest in this particular shooting incident is understandably high. For the community to trust in the outcome from this incident, it is important that independent members of the community review the facts, evidence and law regarding whether these officers should be criminally charged. Until the grand jury’s work is complete, my office will have no further comment on this matter.”
Rathod Mohamedbhai, the law firm representing three of the innocent victims shot, issued the following statement:
“DA McCann must ensure this case does not follow the pattern of grand jury investigations being used to exonerate and legitimize officer misconduct. Denver’s officers must be indicted and tried for their extremely reckless acts of violence.”
One of the innocent victims told Westworld that police told him afterwards he had been shot by the suspect, not police. But the suspect never fired a shot.
“I did ask them if they found the suspect, and they kind of made it seem like it wasn’t the police who’d shot me but the suspect — at least that’s how I understood it,” said Yekalo Weldehiwet, who still has a bullet in his arm.
“The next day, when the reports came out, that’s when I understood it wasn’t actually the suspect who fired, but the police. And I had a lot of questions as to why the police would be part of a mass shooting near a crowd full of people after all the training they’ve completed.”
Watch the short edited video below. The second video below is the full video released by police along with their explanation of what took place.