Police have released the security camera footage of a deadly shooting on an Oklahoma City bus on June 24th.
The footage shows unequivocally that the police officers were assaulted and their lives were put in danger as the assailant scrambled for one officer’s sidearm.
At a time when every police shooting is being subjected to the heaviest scrutiny for signs of police misconduct, this video should lay any doubts about this incident to rest.
Be warned, this is raw unedited footage of an actual shooting and death.
While the remarks in the video can be hard to make out, it is clear that the Hispanic man was very agitated and uncooperative from the beginning.
Captain Paco Balderrama of the Oklahoma City Police Department explained the events leading up to the bus footage.
“It actually originated at NW 11 and Walker, that’s where we received a call of a vandalism,” Balderrama said. A Hispanic male was seen near a car with a broken window; there were multiple callers who called in and told us that this was going on.”
Balderrama said the man ran from the scene, got into a car and commanded the person driving to “drive off.” He said the driver bailed from the vehicle, seeking help after spotting an officer behind Chase Bank, 2200 N Western Ave.
“The suspect then got out of the vehicle and started running westbound. At some point he got into a metro transit bus, (and) an officer went inside the bus,” Balderrama said.
The suspect, identified as Miguel Chavez, was on the run from police after an act of vandalism and an attempted carjacking.
On the video Chavez appears to tell the driver not to stop for anyone, clearly aware that police were in close pursuit.
Chavez says, “Go, go. Non-stop!” To which the driver responds calmly, “I can’t go non-stop. I’m not a taxi.”
The conversation continues like this for a few minutes. The suspect saying things like, “don’t open the door” and “take all my money, I give you whatever you want” in order to get the driver to take him off-route.
He might have even told the driver, “Take all my money and you will live.”
As the bus driver appears to be African-American, the suspect tried to appeal to a perceived unity of racial minorities against police officers — especially white officers.
“They’re looking for me. They’re white officers; they’re white! You are my brother, you my dark brother.” The bus driver did nothing to endorse or confirm this sentiment.
Eventually Chavez armed himself with a fire extinguisher, at which point the driver stopped the bus and ordered all passengers to disembark.
The suspect can be heard telling the passengers, “You get to live now.”
As the last passenger left the bus, the suspect moved to the open door, where a police officer was waiting. The driver called out to the officer, “This is the guy” — which ignited the violent confrontation.
The officer charged onto the bus, only to have Chavez grab at her sidearm, causing an accidental discharge.
For a few tense seconds, suspect and officer wrestled for her gun, with the chance of a deadly shot at any moment. Her partner jumped into the fray, and took advantage of the first clear opening to take the suspect out, firing seven shots in all.
The female officer who was directly assaulted was escorted off the bus, visibly shaken by her near-death experience. Chavez died of his inflicted wounds.
Reports have since surfaced of a history of mental illness for Chavez. Family members are condemning the police for the shooting, arguing that the death was a result of aggressive police policies provoking a sick Chavez.
Police policies uniformly defend the right of officers to use deadly force if a suspect is going for an officer’s gun.