Authorities in Washington D.C. on Thursday released body-camera footage of a police officer fatally shooting an armed Black teenager, hours after protesters surrounded Mayor Muriel Bowser’s home and demanded the resignation of the city’s police chief.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Bowser said she didn’t have “anything to say” to the protesters, but offered condolences to the mother of the teen, Deon Kay, 18. “Certainly we are very sorry for her loss,” Bowser said. “I’m sure she’s going to be reliving that moment.”
Deon Kay.Courtesy Family
Police Chief Peter Newsham at a news conference called the shooting a tragedy and said that Kay had likely fallen “though multiple safety nets” before an officer, who has not been publicly identified, shot him to death in the city’s Southeast section Wednesday afternoon. Newsham said officers were called to the area because of a report of a man with a gun.
In the footage, which is disturbing, an officer can be seen opening fire seconds after leaving his patrol car. Kay was struck once in the chest and later died at a hospital, Newsham said.
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A slowed-down version of the video released by authorities shows Kay appearing to run toward the officer with a gun in his hand. After he’d been shot, Newsham said, the officer saw Kay throw the gun.
In the footage, the officer can be seen searching in a nearby grassy area for the weapon. It was found roughly 98 feet away, Newsham said.
Outraged protesters gathered outside a Southeast police station Wednesday night chanting and calling Kay’s death a “murder.”
“I’m sorry that we are still protesting the murders of Black people,” one said.
Black Americans are 3.2 times more likely than whites to be killed by police, according to researchers at Harvard University. In some metropolitan areas like Chicago, they are six times more likely to die during a fatal police encounter.
After Kay’s death, some observers pointed to Kyle Rittenhouse, the pro-police white teenager accused of killing two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week.
After the shootings, as Rittenhouse walked past officers armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle, witnesses shouted at police that he had shot someone. The officers didn’t stop Rittenhouse — a response Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis attributed to a chaotic scene.
The officers involved in Kay’s fatal shooting were placed on administrative leave while federal prosecutors conduct an independent review of the shooting, Newsham said.