NOPD releases body cam video in 2 fatal police shootings - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

NOPD releases body cam video in 2 fatal police shootings

Source: NOPD Source: NOPD
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

For the first time ever, the New Orleans Police Department on Wednesday released body cam images in two fatal police shootings.

One was taken after a traffic stop gone wrong in Central City last year. Another captured the final moments of a 21-year-old robbery suspect fleeing a Chef Menteur Highway store.

Police said family members were shown the video before it was released to the media. The images capture what - up to now - would have never been seen by the public.

One video shows 37-year-old Omar Jackson, whom police said was a known drug dealer, fleeing after being stopped at the corner of Lasalle and Josephine in January 2015. As he fled, he opened fire. NOPD Officer Mathew Bencik returns fires four times, striking Jackson in the buttocks with a bullet that would wind up killing him several hours later.

"We found our officers did what they are supposed to do, acting safely to protect themselves and others," said New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison.

In the second video released, two hooded suspects are seen entering the Dollar General on Chef in May of last year shortly after closing. Police are alerted by a store monitoring service, and Officer Clifford Thompson, responding quickly, goes around to the back of the store while the suspects are still inside. With his weapon drawn, Thompson fires off several shots at 21-year-old suspect Jared Johnson, who flashes his weapon as he runs away.
Johnson is killed in the shooting which, after review by the FBI and the NOPD's force investigation team, was found to be justified.

"We made a decision, since the D.A. chose not to pursue charges, we would release the video," Harrison said.

New Orleans police say the victim's family members were shown the video early in the process.

"They have seen these videos,” Harrison said. “We keep those relationships open. This is about being transparent to everyone."

Though the chief said the shootings were justified, he said there are lessons learned in every incidents.

"This is what we face every day, and we don't want to use force unless we have to," Harrison said.

The chief says every officer on the force now wears a body cam and must use them. And he promises that his department will continue to release video of other incidents in the future.

The NOPD said all of the officers involved in the two shootings are now back on duty after being exonerated.

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