Milwaukee, WI – Newly released bodycam video showed what happened when two Milwaukee police officers encountered a suspect reported to be armed on a rooftop (video below).
The shootings occurred on the afternoon of Aug. 31, 2017, when officers responded to a call for an armed suspect on the roof of a building, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern said that when the incident occurred, Jerry Smith Jr. and a friend had come to the area to “jump” a third man.
Neighbors called police when the fight started.
After the fight, Smith said he would return with a gun and left, according to witnesses.
One witness said that when Smith returned, he kept his hand on a gun in his pocket, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
That’s when police arrived on the scene, and Smith ran.
The witness then told officers that Smith had a gun, and officers took off in pursuit of him, following him up to the rooftop.
The bodycam video released by Storm showed officers climbing a staircase and then boosting themselves onto a rooftop in pursuit of Smith.
Milwaukee Police Officers Adam Stahl and Melvin Finkley were first onto the roof, and cornered the suspect, the video showed.
“Get your hands in the air!” one of the officers ordered Smith, as both officers pointed their guns in Smith’s direction and walked slowly toward him. “Do it now!”
The video showed Smith held his hands in the air at his sides, as if to show he wasn’t armed.
He held something black in his hand, but the object cannot be identified in the bodycam video.
“Turn around!” the officer ordered him.
Smith ignored that order and instead, dropped his arms. That’s when officers opened fire on him.
Officer Finkley fired first, and Officer Stahl fired second, believing the initial shots came from the suspect.
No gun was found at the scene and Smith has never been charged with any crime associated with the incident, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Later, police learned that the witness had told police that Smith had a gun in order to divert attention away from herself because she was carrying a knife, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Smith survived his wounds, but has had to undergo a number of surgeries and will have permanent partial paralysis in his right leg, according to Daniel Storm, an investigator working on behalf of Smith.
In June, Officers Stahl and Finkley were cleared of wrongdoing in the shooting.
The district attorney’s office determined the officers were justified in using deadly force to stop Smith because they believed he was armed or was reaching for his weapon behind an air conditioning unit on the roof, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Smith has filed a lawsuit against the officers and the police department that alleges civil right abuses.
“People just need to see this,” Storm told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about Officer Stahl’s bodycam video.
Police “can buy toys and all the ice cream they want but until they’re held accountable, the black community will never trust a cop,” he said.
The city is defending Officers Finkley and Stahl against Smith’s allegations of civil rights abuses.
In response to the lawsuit, the city maintains both officers were acting in good faith, pursuant to their law enforcement duties, and therefore should be protected by qualified immunity, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Watch video of the shooting here below: