D.C. police release footage of officer fatally shooting Black man found sleeping in a car

Francis Akhalbey August 30, 2021
Antwan Gilmore was fatally shot by a D.C. police officer after he was found sleeping in his car -- Photo via NBC4 Washington

The D.C. Police Department on Thursday released body camera footage of an officer fatally shooting a Black man found sleeping in a vehicle at a traffic light. The officer fired 10 shots into the car.

Police say the deceased, identified as Antwan Gilmore, was armed, unconscious and blocking vehicular movement when he was approached by officers on Wednesday, NBC4 Washington reported.

In a press briefing on Thursday, Metropolitan Police Department Chief of Police Robert Contee said the deceased 27-year-old woke up at “some point” after officers approached him. The officer who fired the rounds into Gilmore’s car was holding a ballistic shield, and the police chief said that makes it difficult to ascertain what the officer probably saw.

“It’s very difficult to see through the lens of the officer, the one officer in this case that fired. It’s very difficult to see what that officer is seeing. What did he perceive to be the threat at that point?” Contee said, adding that the officer in question was yet to provide a statement about the incident.

Two videos of the shooting were released by the police department. One is a 12-minute-long video while the other is an edited 5.5-minute video that shows different angles of the shooting from three cameras, WUSA9 reported.

In the shorter video, multiple officers are seen surrounding Gilmore’s car and having a conversation about the deceased Black man having a gun. They also try waking him up by knocking on the car’s windows. “I can’t see his hands,” an officer is heard saying.

The officer who opened fire is also heard talking about Gilmore waking up in the longer video. “Oh he’s waking up, he’s waking up,” the officer is heard saying. “Watch the hands! Where’s the gun at? Should we knock?”

The officers are later heard shouting “don’t move” and “Police!” before Gilmore moves the car. An officer subsequently fires several shots into the moving vehicle. Police said Gilmore had initially complied with the officers’ orders to not move the vehicle until he ultimately did and the car was shot at.

But Contee said it’s not within departmental policy for an officer to shoot at a moving vehicle. “Firing at a moving vehicle is inconsistent with our policies. We do have a policy in respect to shooting at a moving vehicle,” he said during Thursday’s briefing.

Following the shooting, officers recovered a gun in the deceased man’s waistband. Contee also said he could not tell if Gilmore took the gun out of his waistband during the confrontation.

Providing further details about the fatal encounter in a statement on Wednesday, the police said officers responded to the location Gilmore was found after someone alerted authorities about an unconscious driver at a traffic light, NBC4 Washington reported.

The statement added that Gilmore’s car was running and he was “unresponsive” when officers initially found him. Prior to the shooting, police also said they deployed a ballistic shield after more officers responded to the scene. When officers attempted talking with Gilmore after he woke up, he allegedly moved the car. He, however, later complied with orders to stop the vehicle, police said.

“The driver then proceeded forward as an MPD member discharged their service weapon multiple times, striking the driver inside the vehicle,” the statement added.

Gilmore was later pronounced dead at a hospital. Contee said they’re still investigating the incident. Mayor Muriel Bowser also said district officials are conducting a “thorough investigation to determine if the officers acted lawfully and within their training.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: August 30, 2021


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