The Broward County Sheriff’s Office wants to make one thing clear; the black man they shot and killed Friday night as he was eating chicken wings was not just shot by white deputies.
One of the deputies who shot him was black, the South Florida law enforcement agency stated on its Facebook page Tuesday, taking issue with the Broward-Palm Beach New Times for reporting the contrary, accusing the news site of being “irresponsible” for posting “unverified and unattributed misinformation that could create tensions between deputies and the community.”
Although witnesses told the New Times that Gregory Frazier was shot six times in the back by white deputies as he was eating chicken wings and French fries during a backyard gathering, the Broward Sheriff’s Office is now claiming that Frazier was “facing the two deputies when the shots were fired.”
“Facing” could mean a number of things but it does not indicate he was threatening them in any way with the knife they claimed he was holding.
The sheriff’s office says neither one of the deputies was wearing a body cam, but witnesses say one of the deputies was wearing one.
Sheriff’s officials have so far refrained from using the all-too-common “lunging” justification for shooting a man with a knife, which indicates they believe there is possible video of the incident that has yet to surface, which would prove them otherwise.
In fact, they did not mention anything about a knife in their latest social media update.
However, two people who called 911 about Frazier told dispatchers he had been drinking all day and was destroying the house while arguing with friends and family, according to audio recordings of the calls obtained by the Broward-Palm Beach New Times.
They also said he would pull out a knife during these arguments, but then indicated he would also place it back into his pocket.
His sister, who placed one of the calls, later said it was just the “rusty pocketknife” he always carried with him.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office is also saying that Frazier was standing when he was shot, but his family members are saying he was sitting, telling the deputies to “leave me alone.”
Again, standing or facing or even telling a cop to leave you alone does not translate to lunging or threatening or making a cop fear for his life, so the Broward Sheriff’s Office has still not answered the most important question.
What exactly did Frazier do to deserve death?