Arizona police officers were wearing body cameras when they shot and killed a man last week, claiming they were in fear for their lives.
However, they did not turn the cameras on until after they shot and killed Donald S. Myers.
Flagstaff police explained on its Facebook page that Corporal Michael Lavelle forgot to turn his camera on “due to the intensity of the moment.”
Nevertheless, the body camera he was wearing captures a 30-second buffer of footage before the camera was activated just in case the officers fails to turn it on.
That footage shows Lavelle shooting Myers as the suspect emerges from behind a truck. However, the video is partially obscured from the light on Lavelle’s gun.
Once the audio goes on, Flagstaff police were sure to remove the video portion of the footage, leaving just the audio, explaining they did that to “protect the privacy rights of the person killed and their family.”
Police said they had tried to arrest Myers earlier for a drug transaction, but he pulled out a gun, then fled on foot.
However, it does not appear that he had the gun on him when he was shot.
According to the Facebook press release:
Cpl. Lavelle and Officer Seay identified themselves as police officers and made multiple requests for the suspect to step out from behind the vehicle with his hands up. The suspect was non-compliant. Ofc Seay told the suspect to show his hands or he could be shot. The suspect replied, “Just f***ing do it. Just do it.” The suspect then stepped out from behind the vehicle but refused to place his hands up as directed. He reached quickly toward his beltline where the Officers had previously seen the firearm. Cpl. Lavelle, fearing for his own safety and the safety of other officer, fired his weapon five times. The suspect was struck by three rounds and fell to the ground.
Cpl. Lavelle and Ofc Seay called for emergency medical assistance. Additional Officers and Deputies arrived and the suspect was placed in handcuffs. At this time Officers saw that the suspect was no longer armed but was still wearing the holster. Officers moved the suspect to the street so emergency life-saving measures could be provided. Officers and Deputies began providing emergency aid. Medical Personnel arrived on scene and took over care but were unable to revive the suspect. He was pronounced deceased on scene.
The suspect was identified as Donald S. Myers, 32 years of age of Flagstaff, AZ. It was recognized that Mr. Myers had provided false information when speaking to Ofc Seay not realizing the person’s identification he used had a valid warrant for his arrest. It was discovered that Mr. Myers also had valid misdemeanor warrants for his arrest.
The Northern Arizona Officer Involved Shoot Team was called to investigate. Additional assistance from the Coconino County Search and Rescue team was provided. Investigators used K-9’s to search for the firearm.
During the investigation of the scene one of the K-9’s located a Desert Eagle 44 Magnum semi-automatic handgun. This firearm matched the description of the gun seen by Officers and was within the path the suspect travelled when he fled from police.
Further investigation revealed that Mr. Myers had previously expressed anger toward police on multiple occasions over recent family contacts with police. The investigation also revealed the Mr. Myers regularly carried this firearm on his person.
In a followup press release, Flagstaff police thanked the community for its “trusting relationship” with its police department, allowing them to censor the video without question.
The shooting took place on Friday, making Myers the 625th person killed by police in the United States this year. Since then, that number has shot up to 639, according to Killed by Police.
Below is the footage released by police along with an audio recording of the dispatch call.