Police release body cam footage of I-95 shooting death
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond Police Department released body and surveillance camera footage Friday from the shooting death of Marcus-David Peters.
"Since I've been here, we have never encountered a situation like this, ladies and gentlemen," said Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham. "Never. And the first time, people want answers right then and there. I don't have answers. We want a fair and thorough investigation. Do not pass judgement. If you do, shame on you."
Surveillance video from The Jefferson, where Peters worked nights and weekends, shows him entering the hotel the afternoon of Monday, May 14 and quickly taking off his shirt.
Peters is then shown talking to an employee in the hotel, before leaving shortly after. He reappears in the surveillance footage without any clothes on and gets back into his car.
At Friday’s news conference, Police Chief Alfred Durham also showed traffic cameras from the city of Richmond that showed Peters hitting another vehicle and not stopping.\
Peters then crashed his car at a ramp on I-95 at Chamberlayne Avenue. Body cam footage from the officer shows Peters exiting the vehicle and running onto to interstate.
Peters was seemingly unfazed after he was hit by a vehicle. Afterwards, he began yelling and rolling around in the roadway.
The police body cam footage shows Officer Michael Nyantakyi call for backup while holding his stun gun.
Peters then comes toward the officer and threatens to kill him.
Nyantakyi deployed his stun gun, but one of the prongs did not hit him, Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said Friday. Peters then attempts to grab the stun gun and does not back away from the officer.
Nyantakyi then fires his gun, and Peters eventually collapses. The entire incident lasted a mere 18 seconds.
Backup officers then arrived at the scene and delivered first aid to Peters, who died the next day at the hospital.
"I only wish that we could have helped Mr. Peters like we do with so many people, each and every day," said Durham. "Unfortunately, this situation didn't turn out that way. It's what we do for others. We could not help him that day, and for that, I am truly sorry."
"Please understand it is not my responsibility to make a final determination on the officer's actions. Besides, it would be irresponsible for me to make any comments on an officer's actions in the middle of an ongoing investigation," Durham also said.
On Friday afternoon, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney released a statement on the shooting:
It's always tragic when we lose a life in the city, and the death of Marcus-David Peters is no exception. I appreciate Chief Durham's commitment to transparency this morning with the release of the unedited body-worn camera video footage, and I expect the Richmond Police Department and all relevant authorities to complete a thorough investigation and to release their findings once all the facts are known. In the meantime, I ask the Richmond community to continue to keep the Peters family in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
Earlier this week, police showed family members the body camera footage.
"Police have confirmed Marcus was clearly unarmed. He was in distress. He was in need of help. He was not in need of death," said Princess Blanding, Peters' sister.
Prior to releasing the videos, Durham said the department was releasing the body cam footage because "I want to clear the air and set the record straight. There is so much misinformation out there right now. The facts are what should matter, here."
"We're wearing a lot of hats, ladies and gentlemen. And when incidents come like this, and folks just want to beat us up without having the facts, that hurts, ladies and gentlemen," said Chief Durham during the press conference. "It hurts the morale of the men and women on my department, and it hurts me."
Durham said the Commonwealth's Attorney will make a determination on whether charges will be pressed, once the investigation is complete.
Richmond Police’s Force Investigation Team is currently leading the investigation, with some oversight by the FBI.
Durham says after the investigation is complete, he wants to have a community meeting discussing the use of force and police.
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