Authorities in Virginia recently released footage from a body-mounted camera reportedly worn by the Portsmouth officer who shot an 18-year-old suspect in the back during a foot pursuit last year.
According to the Virginian-Pilot, rookie officer was placed on modified assignment following an October 29 shooting that injured 18-year-old Deontrace Ward.
The burglary suspect reportedly admitted he was carrying a gun at the time of the shooting, but insists he never reached for it. He claims the video proves he was not posing a threat at the time.
“I was just pretty much trying to get away,” he said. “Showing no aggression. I feel he shot for no reason.”
A criminal trial against Ward is scheduled to begin this week and he is expected to face six criminal counts including armed statutory burglary, assault of a police office and possession of a firearm by a felony.
Nicholas Renninger, a lawyer representing the officer, disputed Ward’s account that he did not pose a threat to pursuing officers.
“The suspect was armed, had burglarized a home and was clearly a danger and a threat in that regard,” he said.
The attorney said he had “no qualms whatsoever” in declaring his client’s “actions in protecting himself and those around him were justified.”
Renninger went on to claim that Ward was “carrying a weapon that was definitely visible” when he left the home he allegedly burglarized. Police say he stole jewelry from the residence prior to the foot chase that ended when he was shot.
As a minor, Ward was convicted of felony theft. Both his attorney and Portsmouth Police Chief Tonya Chapman declined making an initial comment about the case.
Discretion advised: Video contains graphic content that may offend some viewers.
[Featured image: Virginian-Pilot/Video screenshot]