On Tuesday (November 10), the family of 17-year-old Vincent Truitt described what they saw on police body cam and dash cam footage of the teen’s final moments after he was shot and killed by an Atlanta-area police officer in July.
Gerald A. Griggs, an attorney for the family, as well as the boy’s father and other family members watched the video and said Truitt exited a car he wasn’t driving at the end of a chase. After running three steps, an officer shot the teen twice in the back.
“After Vincent was shot, Vincent drops to the ground, you can hear him speaking to the officer. He pointedly asked the officer, ‘Why did you shoot me?'” Griggs said at a press conference, according to 11 Alive. “The officer at that point says, ‘Because you have a gun.'”
A major point of contention in the case is whether Truitt “brandished” a gun in any way toward the officers. Griggs says the videos show that he clearly did not point a weapon at the officers or turn to face them at any point. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations, which provided the initial account, claims Truitt “brandished a handgun.”
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“At no point in that video do you see him point that gun or pull that gun or do anything with that gun except get out of the vehicle and run away – in Georgia you have to have an imminent threat,” Griggs said. “Vincent was not an imminent threat to anybody.”
Police said officers were trying to apprehend several people in a car that was reportedly stolen. The driver and the passenger in the vehicle were caught by police. Truitt, police said, “exited from the driver’s side after the driver exited. Mr. Truitt was armed with a handgun (in his hand) as he exited the vehicle. An officer running toward him observed the weapon and responded by drawing his issued weapon and firing two shots, striking Mr. Truitt both times.”
The Cobb County Police Department did not say that the officer gave commands for Truitt to drop the weapon. Though it does say that the department will “not rush ahead of the process as it is appropriate that all facts and details in this case be examined.”
Truitt’s death has been ruled a homicide by the Cobb County Medical Examiner.