Body camera footage from an police officer shows him shooting a 14-year-old boy moments after telling his dispatch that he believed the boy was unarmed.
“I think it’s a cap gun,” Sergeant Kyle Holcomb says in a video released by victim Lorenzo Clerkley Jr’s lawyer on Tuesday, “but they are shooting something off.”
Lorenzo was shot twice, once in the hip and once in the leg, by the officer on March 10 in Oklahoma City after Sgt Holcomb responded to a call regarding an abandoned house. Lorenzo and friends were at the home shooting airsoft guns.
When Sgt Holcomb approached the house, peering through a hole in the home’s fence, he shot at Lorenzo seconds after giving a warning.
Lorenzo has since recovered enough to return to school, but must treat his exit wounds daily.
Sgt Holcomb maintained after shooting the boy that he believed Lorenzo was armed. After Oklahoma County District Attorney David W Prate declined to press charges, Sgt Holcomb returned to work at the Oklahoma City Police Department following a paid leave.
After witnessing the body-camera footage, Lorenzo’s family believes the shooting was unjustified, and is now preparing to file a lawsuit.
In the video, Sgt Holcomb approaches the house and tells his dispatch that the thinks the guns are “cap guns.”
He then approaches the backyard of the house, gives a warning for the unknown person to “drop your weapon,” and, less than second later, fires four shots.
Later, the video shows the officer standing over Lorenzo, who is lying face-down on the ground in handcuffs.
Sgt Holcomb raises Lorenzo’s shirt to inspect his wound and tells the boy “you’re okay.” He does not appear to respond to Lorenzo’s follow-up question: “was it a bullet?”
In a conversation in which another officer asks Sgt Holcomb if he was okay, he responds “yeah,” and tells his partner he doesn’t want to move the boy while they wait for emergency medical services because the bullet’s “in his hip.”
His partner keeps an automatic weapon pointed at the boy as the boy starts to cry.
“Are you hurt anywhere else other than your hip?” the officer asks.
“My thigh,” the boy says through tears, still face-down.
Without asking for permission, Sgt Holcomb pulls the boy’s pants down and inspects him for blood.
The Oklahoma City Police Department has released a photo of the airsoft gun they recovered from the scene, which a spokesperson for the Department says resembles a real gun.
Lorenzo’s lawyer maintains that the shooting was not justified. According to the Washington Post, the video continues for nearly 10 and a half minutes following the shooting and does not ever show any medical services arriving.