Washington D.C. police released two body cam videos Wednesday showing them shooting and killing a man with a knife during a family gathering on Christmas Day.
But the videos beg the question as to whether they had to kill him.
After all, they had already cleared the home of all people except Gerald “Javon” Hall, the 29-year-old man holding the knife, who police say was threatening to kill his girlfriend with a knife.
But seconds before he was shot and killed, he shoved his girlfriend out the door and closed it.
She then sat down on the doorstep, not appearing to be afraid that he would open the door and start stabbing her, even though it does appear as if her arm is bleeding.
“Please don’t shoot his crazy ass,” she says.
But they did just that less than a second later.
Now more family members are saying he did not have a knife.
According to WJLA:
Hall’s family claims the body cam footage authorities allowed them to watch disputes what police say actually occurred.
“On this video [you will] hear the officer say, ‘Put the knife down, put the knife down, put the knife down!’” said Q James, Hall’s cousin. “But you will also not see a knife in his hand to put down.”
“I am absolutely certain – absolutely certain – that he did not have a knife,” Hall’s sister, Riquita McCain, said after watching the video. “I have no idea why that man shot my brother.”
Hall’s family says his girlfriend is in the video and that she tells officers he did not have a knife.
And a cursory view of the videos suggest he did not have a knife because his girlfriend’s sister suggests that she now has the knife he had been holding, apparently not realizing he picked up a second knife.
“He doesn’t have a knife,” she says to the cops arriving on the scene as she stands outside the house.
“The knife right here. I got the knife.”
And the knife is difficult to see after the shooting when one cop pulls it from beneath him after he is shot.
However, the knife is visible in his hand in the second video at the bottom of the story if you go frame-by-frame, two which are posted below.
He apparently picked up another knife after his girlfriend’s sister took the first knife away, according to AFRO.com, a Washington D.C.-based news organization that focuses on African-American issues, who interviewed family members.
“I want to know more I want this police footage to be released. They are saying a guy I’ve known my whole life was wielding a knife and threatening a police officer,” Donnell Jones, the cousin of Hall told the AFRO Jan. 3.
He said the police’s description of Hall acting violently was out of character and that police could have used other means to deescalate the situation. “We should be able to call the police if we feel scared…I just think they showed up and did everything wrong.”
Jones, 31, like many of Hall’s loved ones, described him as a family man who worked hard to provide for his four children and joked around a lot. Jones said Hall, a Navy veteran, inspired him to enlist in the Army. Jones added he doesn’t know the complete story, because he wasn’t on the scene but other members of the family have watched the body camera footage and are disputing police claims.
According to police reports, authorities arrived at the 3200 block of Walnut Street, NE around 11:30 a.m. after a neighbor called for sounds of “loud screaming.” Officials said Hall got into a verbal altercation with the woman his family identified as his girlfriend that turned physical.
According to police, Hall allegedly grabbed a knife. But, the girlfriend’s sister was able to take the knife away from Hall.
Then, Hall allegedly pulled out another knife and stabbed his girlfriend in the arm. Police said they arrived on the scene after being called by a neighbor and commanded Hall to drop the knife. Officials said Hall refused to put the weapon down, which prompted the officer to shoot.
Police are not even claiming he was “lunging” as they usually do when they kill people with knives. All they are saying is that he refused to drop the knife.
But by the time they shot him, he was not a threat to anybody.
He was standing behind a closed door that they had to shove open, not even giving his girlfriend a chance to step down from the porch, placing her life in danger.
They were not in fear for their lives. She was not in fear for her life.
Even her sister was not in fear for her life as she took the first knife away from him without having to kill him.
He was just not complying, so he had to die. That’s how many of these calls turn out.
You call for help, they show up and kill.
Keep that in mind next time you call the cops on a family member.