NOPD: Body cam shows justified fatal police shooting

NOPD: Body cam shows justified fatal police shooting

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - New Orleans police say an officer was justified when he shot and killed a man Wednesday night.

They say for the first time in NOPD history, the officer's body cam video shows the victim shooting first.

The incident began when police on patrol at Josephine and Lasalle stopped at about 11 p.m. to question the driver of a damaged SUV with smoke coming out from under the hood.

"The officers spoke with the individuals, ran their information, and asked the man behind the wheel to exit the vehicle," said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison.

But then, police say the driver jumped out and fled eastbound on Josephine, leaving a man and woman inside the SUV.

"The officers ran after the driver, and the driver fired at the direction of officers," Harrison said. "Officer Bencick returned fire at the driver. Two rounds struck the driver, one to the torso, and one to the hip."

And for the first time ever, police say the entire incident was caught on Officer Mathew Bencick's body camera.

"The body cam revealed their was pleasant interaction between the officers and the occupants up until the time the subject took off running," said Harrison.

"I commend this officer for turning this camera on, and we have the entire incident on camera," said Deputy Superintendent Arlinda Westbrook, who heads up the Public Integrity Bureau.

Neighbors welcome the video evidence.

"The technology we have out, I thank God for it. It's gonna help us out," said Central City resident Eddie Wood at the scene of the shooting.

"The evidence is there to support that the officer responded, the subject did shoot at the officer, and even with all that supporting evidence, it makes everybody more comfortable that we're a Constitutional police department," said Harrison.

Residents who didn't want to go on camera say they heard between four and seven shots. Neighbors also told us that the vehicle appeared familiar, and the person who fled may live near the scene of the shooting.

"The officers recovered illegal drugs and a semi-automatic handgun near the area where the driver collapsed," said Harrison.

The coroner and the NOPD PIB are now interviewing witnesses and promise a full investigation.

"The camera caught it all. Instead of depending on recollection and testimony, we have the video that shows us from beginning to end," said Westbrook.

Police say they will not release the video until their investigation is complete. Officer Bencick, is a three-year veteran who has been assigned to administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

The victim is for now being identified only as a 37-year-old man.