According to the attorney representing the family of a man who was shot and killed earlier this week by Philadelphia police attempting to execute a search warrant, video exists that “has captured the entire incident from every angle.”
The officer who fired the shot and his supervisor, have been placed on administrative leave while the department conducts an investigation.
Attorney S. Lee Merritt and family members of the dead man, Jeffery Dennis, met with Police Commissioner Richard Ross on Thursday morning.
At the meeting, Ross informed them the video was obtained from surveillance cameras from a nearby café and that the family would be able view it as early as next week.
“There were four different cameras pointed at the incident and there are witnesses,” said Merritt, who has not seen the video. “Obviously, he (Ross) has seen the video and it has captured the incident from every angle. He said it was probably one of the clearest videos that he has seen in his career.”
The surveillance video came from cameras operated by Lorenzo’s Café Espresso, which is located at the corner of Princeton Avenue and Hegerman Street. The police shooting occurred on the 7100 block of Hegerman Street in Northeast Philadelphia.
According to police, plainclothes officers in unmarked squad cars from the 15th District’s Narcotics Field Unit used their vehicles to block the path of a black Toyota Camry that Dennis was driving about 4 p.m. Monday. Six officers exited their vehicles and attempted to approach Dennis.
Dennis did not comply with commands to exit the vehicle and began bumping into the vehicles in front and behind his Camry. Three of the officers were hurt and required hospitalization.
One officer, described as a 53-year-old veteran of 10 years, fired three shots. Dennis was struck in the head and arm, and was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:18 p.m.
The local Fraternal Order of Police has come to the support of the officers, accusing “city leaders” of second-guessing the tactics of the police, who are conducting an internal investigation.
“It’s unfortunate that our city leaders and others are prematurely second-guessing the tactics of police officers during a volatile and chaotic situation that led to the death of an alleged drug suspect,” FOP President John L. McNesby said in a statement. “In this city, our officers routinely see drug dealers portrayed as heroes, regardless of how many of our children are routinely murdered by drug overdoses.”
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has recused himself from the case, turning it over to state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office due to a potential conflict of interest. Krasner was Dennis’ lawyer in a 2015 drug case in Bucks County before he was sworn in as district attorney in 2018.
This is not the first time an officer-related shooting connected with the 15th District has come under fire.
David Jones was shot in the back and died from his wounds more than a year ago by officer Ryan Pownall during a dirt bike stop. Pownall was fired, but he has not been charged as the case remains in Krasner’s office.
Brandon Tate Brown died after he was shot in the back of the head during a December 2014 traffic stop. Last September, his mother dropped a civil suit against the police department.
“I told everyone in the city that the 15th Police District will shoot and kill again,” said Asa Khalif, head of the Coalition of Black Lives in Philadelphia and Brown’s cousin.
“You dismissed it. You said I was being anti-cop and that I was in my feelings,” he added. “But the 15th District has a history of abusing Black and brown and poor people in that section of the city.”