IMPD Chief Rick Hite called a press conference today to release video recorded by a body camera worn by Officer Jered Hidlebaugh on April 12 when he fatally shot and killed Mack Long. The video seemed to satisfy Chief Hite that the shooting of Long was justified, but I am unable to draw any such conclusions after watching a very poor video quality that shows some signs of editing. Chief Hite's view is that Long failed to comply with the police officer's commands to stop and fall to the ground. Ergo, they were justified in shooting him.
To refresh your memory, Officer Kyle Flynn made a traffic stop around 3:15 p.m. on April 12 near the corner of 31st Street and Sherman Drive. Long, a passenger in a vehicle driven by his wife, fled on foot when Officer Flynn asked for the driver's license and registration. Officer Flynn pursued Long on foot and observed Long had a 9 mm handgun attached to his hip as he ran. When Flynn caught up with Long as he approached a wooded area, he ordered him to the ground. Long instead turned away and Officer Flynn fired two shots, striking Long once as continued to flee. None of this is seen on the video.
As Officer Hidlebaugh arrived at the scene to provide back-up to Officer Long, which is where the camera begins recording, he hears him say over the radio that shots had been fired. Officer Flynn claims he caught up to the wounded Long, and Long began wrestling with him for control of his gun. None of this is captured on camera, and there is no evidence Long ever drew the gun he was carrying on him. When Officer Hidlebaugh approached Officer Flynn and Long, he says he saw the two men struggling, although the video quality is too poor to capture the struggle between the two men. Officer Hidlebaugh fires two more shots at Long as he yelled four-letter expletives, fatally killing him. The video shows both Officer Flynn and Long on the ground after Officer Hidlebaugh fired the two shots. They appear to be separated by at least a couple of yards.
Chief Hite commended the two officers for only firing four shots at Long. The Indianapolis Star and other media reports made no mention of the cell phone footage captured by an onlooker being played during the press conference. The full length of the body cam video is 7 to 8 minutes, much shorter than what local news media have been showing in their reports. IMPD did not provides copies of the video to the media. The media had to make recordings of the video footage played to them at the press conference.
Hite says second officer on scene had body cam for two days before Mack Long shooting. Hite commends officers for only firing 4 shots 1/2
— MichaelAnthonyAdams (@MichaelAdams317) July 9, 2015
Some of you might find it interesting to watch the dash cam video below released by Charleston, South Carolina police showing the very calm traffic stop/arrest of Dylann Roof, the young man who supposedly entered a church and shot and killed 9 people and compare it to the manner in which Indianapolis police pursued Long, who was not suspected of committing any crime other than fleeing a vehicle stopped following a routine traffic stop. The officers actually holstered their guns as they approached Roof's car.