Meeting draws people angry over fatal police shooting – Naked man tells officer: ‘Put that Taser down or I’ll kill you

This still image taken from the Richmond, Va., Police body camera shows Richmond Police officer holding a stun gun at Marcus-David Peters approaches him on May 14, 2018 in Richmond, Va. Police Chief Alfred Durham on Friday, May 25 released the video showing the officer first used the stun gun when Peters approached him. Police say it was not effective and the officer then shot Peters twice in the abdomen. (Richmond, Va., Police via AP)

By DENISE LAVOIE,  Associated Press  RICHMOND, Va. (AP) 05/26 — More than 200 people turned out for a community meeting Saturday to protest the death of a young black man who was fatally shot by a Virginia police officer after he ran naked onto an interstate highway.

Speakers at the meeting at Richmond’s Second Baptist Church said they were angry that police used deadly force on Marcus-David Peters, 24, who was unarmed and behaving erratically during the May 14 confrontation.

Body-camera video made public by police Chief Alfred Durham Friday shows Peters emerge naked from a car and dash onto Interstate 95, then flail erratically before running toward the officer while shouting threats. The officer deploys a stun gun before shooting Peters twice with his service weapon.

Richmond Police Chief, Alfred Durham, gestures during a news conference in Richmond, Va., Friday, May 25, 2018. Durham released the video of Marcus-David Peters’ fatal shooting earlier this month. The video shows the officer first used a stun gun when Peters approached him. Police say it was not effective and the officer then shot Peters twice in the abdomen. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

 

Durham has asked the community for patience while an investigation into the shooting continues.

But people who attended the meeting Saturday said they cannot understand why the officer — who referred to Peters as “mentally unstable” during the encounter — shot him.

“Having a mental breakdown in the middle of traffic should not be a death sentence,” said Rob Gibson, a friend who went to college with Peters.

Princess Blanding, the sister of Marcus-David Peters, who was fatally shot by Richmond police and Jeffrey Peters, the uncle of Marcus-David Peters, speak to the media outside Richmond police headquarters in Richmond, Va., Wednesday May 23, 2018. The two viewed police body-camera footage of the incident. (AP Photo/Denise Lavoie)

 

Peters’ sister, Princess Blanding, told the crowd that the family never saw bizarre behavior from her brother. He graduated with honors from Virginia Commonwealth University and was working as a high school science teacher. Blanding said police need more training on how to de-escalate encounters with people in crisis or suffering from mental illness.

“Nationwide, officers need to be equipped with more strategies than just deadly force,” she said.

The confrontation began after an officer saw Peters strike another vehicle with his sedan and flee.

This still image taken from the Richmond, Va., Police body camera shows a police officer pointing his gun at Marcus-David Peters on May 14, 2018, in Richmond, Va. Police Chief Alfred Durham on Friday, May 25, released the video showing the officer first used a stun gun when Peters approached him. Police say it was not effective and the officer then shot Peters twice in the abdomen. (Richmond Police via AP)

 

The officer, whom police have identified as Michael Nyantakyi, a 10-year veteran of the force who is also black, is seen in bodycam video with his handgun trained on the vehicle as he first approaches and orders Peters to stay in the car.

“Male seems to be mentally unstable as we speak,” Nyantakyi says.

Peters exits the vehicle and dashes onto the interstate filled with rush-hour traffic, where a vehicle strikes him, the video shows. Peters then lies in the roadway, rolling back and forth and swinging his limbs.

Peters then approaches the officer, slowly at first, and tells him, “Put that Taser down or I’ll kill you.”

This still image taken from the Richmond, Va., Police body camera shows a police officer pointing his gun at Marcus-David Peters on May 14, 2018, in Richmond, Va. Police Chief Alfred Durham on Friday, May 25, released the video showing the officer first used a stun gun when Peters approached him. Police say it was not effective and the officer then shot Peters twice in the abdomen. (Richmond Police via AP)

 

Nyantakyi fires the stun gun as Peters continues to advance. Peters then runs toward the officer. Two gunshots are heard.

Nyantakyi remains on paid administrative leave while the investigation that will involve an autopsy and toxicology report continues, Durham said.

When the investigation is complete, police will forward the findings to the commonwealth’s attorney’s office, which will determine if the use of force was justified.

Peters’ family plans to lead a march on June 2 from Virginia Commonwealth University to police headquarters.

https://www.apnews.com/db0928cb225e4226b6f7f7ca78a42379/Meeting-draws-people-angry-over-fatal-police-shooting

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in: Accidents, Attacks on Police, Body Cameras, Civilian Complaints, Community Relations, Injuries, Investigations, Mental Illness, Non-Lethal Alternatives, Police, Public Safety, Shootings, Stun Guns, Use of Deadly Force

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