BIRMINGHAM, AL – Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin disagreed with the framing by Black Lives Matter over an officer-involved shooting from April of a reportedly armed suspect who fired at officers.
Both the family of the deceased suspect and BLM rallied calls demanding the mayor’s resignation, and holding the officers involved to account, but the mayor refused to lay credence that this particular officer-involved shooting was unjustified.
Birmingham mayor: Desmon Ray’s death not another case of police shooting unarmed Black man https://t.co/TFrE9jDvOz
— carol robinson (@RobinsonCarol) May 11, 2021
On May 11th, Mayor Woodfin confirmed that he will not be resigning from his role as the city mayor, despite the likes of Black Lives Matter’s Birmingham chapter calling for both his resignation and that of Police Chief Patrick Smith over the April 4th fatal shooting of 28-year-old Desmon Ray.
The shooting incident occurred after officers responded to a reported domestic dispute occurring inside of a vehicle at approximately 11:00 p.m. on April 4th. Officers reportedly spotted the vehicle along the 200 block of Ninth Avenue West and attempted to pull the vehicle over.
However, the driver, later identified as Ray, refused to stop and a brief pursuit ensued.
Rey had reportedly crashed the vehicle into a chain link fence along the same block where the vehicle was spotted, according to Chief Smith, with Ray then exiting the vehicle and firing one round toward responding officers.
Officers returned fire, as seen on the released video from the incident, where Ray was struck and later died after being transported to an area hospital.
Black Lives Matter Birmingham calls for resignations of mayor, chief over fatal police shooting of Desmon Ray Jr. https://t.co/pfgZ93nhOm
— carol robinson (@RobinsonCarol) May 11, 2021
The local BLM chapter framed the fatal shooting of Ray to be “unacceptable,” alleging that the responding officers committed an act of “murder” when returning fire at Ray during the evening of April 4th.
After the group making such claims, Mayor Woodfin addressed the allegations and framing presented by the local BLM chapter with the following response:
“The sentiment I have every day when I wake up, and I know the chief of police shares the same sentiment, when our police officers interact with citizens and our citizens interact with Birmingham police officer, we want everyone to go home safe.
“The citizen and the police. In this situation on that night, unfortunately that did not happen.”
Mayor Woodfin offered condolences to the family of Ray, as the matter does involve a loss of life, but wanted to point out that the officer-involved shooting of Ray is not emblematic of the unjustified uses of force or police shootings that have come under intense scrutiny in recent times:
“But I also want to state there are real issues in America right now. These issues have persisted for quite some time where unarmed Black men have been shot by white officers. I want to make myself very clear – this is not one of those instances and this is not the case.”
Mayor Woodfin noted that he welcomes the official investigation into the incident, while also saying that the local BLM chapter will not have their wishes fulfilled regarding a desire to see him resign from his role:
“I look forward to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation completing their investigation and turning over the findings to the District Attorney’s Office, as well as city of Birmingham being provided the opportunity to see what is in that report, as well as his family getting the details of what happened that night.
“I also want to make this point very clear – I will not be resigning.”
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In other recent officer-involved shootings, officials in Nashville released the bodycam footage regarding a fatal officer-involved shooting that took place on April 24th.
Here’s that previous report.
NASHVILLE, TN – Officials released bodycam footage related to the officer-involved shooting that occurred on April 24th which involved a Metropolitan Nashville Police Department officer and a suspect allegedly armed with two butcher knives.
Officer fatally shoots man with butcher knives, Nashville police say https://t.co/wUH3YGBzah
— Nicole Acevedo (@Nicolemarie_A) April 24, 2021
According to Metropolitan Nashville Police Department spokesman Dan Aaron, MNPD Officer Christopher Royer was reportedly patrolling in the North Precinct area shortly after midnight on April 24th.
While patrolling, Officer Royer reportedly pulled over a white Mercedes within the 3200-block of Clarksville Pike after a license plate check found that the vehicle registration returned results for a green 1998 Chevrolet.
The released footage shows that when the driver of the Mercedes had pulled over, a passenger immediately jumped out of the vehicle, hoisting what was later identified as two butcher knives – one in each hand.
While this is ongoing, the driver of the Mercedes can be heard frantically yelling at the passenger that had jumped out of his vehicle:
“What are you doing?”
The suspect first runs toward the officer. Officer Royer can be seen backing away from his patrol vehicle to create distance while issuing instructions to “drop the knife.”
Video shows the suspect then going inside of Officer Royer’s patrol unit briefly, which led to both the driver of the Mercedes and the officer clamoring “what are you doing?”
The suspect then runs a short distance away from the patrol vehicle, giving Officer Royer the opportunity to quickly shut the vehicle door while still issuing commands to the suspect to drop the knife.
The @TBInvestigation says they will identify the subject killed in the deadly Nashville officer-involved shooting when his identity is confirmed and next-of-kin is notified. Those efforts still continue, they said today: https://t.co/dYWRNbBXaL
— FoxNashville (@FOXNashville) April 25, 2021
Officer Royer repeatedly tells the suspect “I don’t want to shoot you,” prior to the armed suspect charging toward the officer while still armed with the knives.
It was when the suspect was roughly 12 feet away from the officer while still charging with the weapons in hand that Officer Royer fired three shots, fatally wounding the suspect.
After the shots were fired and he radioed for additional assistance on scene, Officer Royer kicked the knives away from the suspect and stated:
“Dude, what are you doing man? C’mon? I did not want to have to do that.”
Commenting on the matter, MNPD Chief John Drake had the following to say about his officer’s actions:
“He did everything he could, I felt. He retreated, he asked the individual to drop the weapon several times, continued charging at him, and he was left with no choice.”
Both the district attorney’s office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are handling the investigation into the incident.
A Metro Nashville officer is under investigation after shooting and killing a knife wielding man in Bordeaux. This is still a developing story. https://t.co/DUXRGqUlj5
— NewsChannel 5 (@NC5) April 24, 2021
Reportedly the Metro Nashville Community Oversight Board is conducting an administrative investigation to ensure all police procedures and policies were followed during the incident.
However, based upon the evidence currently available, MNPD Chief Drake can’t find any fault with Officer Royer’s response to the situation.
What remains to be determined, from Chief Drake’s perspective, is what caused the suspect to lash out in such a fashion:
“[The suspect’s] rather bizarre behavior, we will try to find out what all this stemmed from. This appears to possibly be justified, we’ll find out as the investigation moves forward.”
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Author: Gregory Hoyt
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