The Florida cops accused of fatally shooting two Black teenagers are defending their actions despite dashcam footage suggesting they didn't need to use lethal force, according to NewsOne.
The Brevard County Sheriff's Office said 18-year-old Sincere Pierce and 16-year-old Angelo "A.J." Crooms were being pulled over for a "possible stolen car" on Friday, November 13 in Cocoa, Florida. Deputies claim the teens tried to flee, which "forced" an officer to open fire. To back up their claims, they pointed to an edited and incomplete version of dashcam footage, NewsOne said.
In the video, it shows authorities in vehicles approaching the car the teens were in. The car pulled into a driveway briefly and starting backing out. A deputy can be heard saying, "Stop the vehicle!" repeatedly before the car starts driving again. That's when they started unloading bullets into the car at close range, killing both teens.
WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT. VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED.
Ben Crump, the civil rights lawyer representing the teens' families, said the video shows the Pierce and Crooms posing "no threat" and were probably "terrified." It was also unclear if the teenagers heard the officer's demands. The video also doesn't suggest them trying to flee until the moments before an officer opened fire.
“Claiming that this deputy discharged 10 shots to get himself out of harm’s way is a clear attempt to justify the killing of these teens. If anything, the deputy appears to have moved closer to the vehicle to get a better shot,” Crump said in part of a statement emailed to NewsOne. “The video shows that the deputy continued to fire shots into the side of the vehicle as it was passing him, after he was out of harm’s way. This disturbing incident, which cost the lives of two Black teens, again documents the dangers of driving or even riding while Black — since the deputy also shot into the backseat, killing a passenger.”
The family of the teens added that BCSO didn't provide them any information about the shooting until the office's press release. Brevard deputies have not released any information about whether the car was actually stolen, and if there were weapons recovered from the vehicle. Crump appealed to deputies to release the raw footage and encouraged witnesses and neighbors to come forward with home surveillance cams.
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