Akron police officer who shot 16-year-old ‘did not immediately activate’ body camera

Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 10:30 PM EDT

AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - Newly released police body cam video is raising new questions about protocol.

19 News has learned from Akron Police that the officer who shot a 16-year-old suspect with a gun, “did not immediately activate” his body-worn camera, so there’s no video of the actual shooting.

The first video you do see is the 16-year-old suspect on the ground, bleeding from his left pinky finger, as the officer handcuffs him. But for the first 30 seconds of the video, there is no audio. The way that the technology works, the audio doesn’t start until 30 seconds after the camera is initiated. But, once you can hear the exchange between police and the suspect, it’s heated. “Why the (expletive) did you shoot me, Bro? That hurt,” the 16-year-old said. The officer asks where did the bullet hit him, and the teen says, in the hand.

Last Saturday evening, September 3rd, just before 6:30, Akron Police on patrol Longview Avenue and Manchester, heard multiple shots fired. Akron Police say the officers immediately worked to locate where the shots were coming from, and that’s when a 9-year-veteran of the police force says he encountered the 16-year-old with a gun in his hand, behind a house, along with several others. That’s when the officer fired a shot, striking the 16-year-old in his pinky finger.

In another heated exchange between the officer and the suspect, the teen is repeatedly told to sit on the ground. The officer tells him I saw the gun in your hand and then points to where the gun is sitting a short distance away on the ground. But the teenager argued, saying the gun did not belong to him.

Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation was called in to handle the case. They located 4 guns, and several young males were taken in for questioning.

According to an Akron Police policy manual, personal safety and public safety, or anything that requires immediate attention, takes priority over activating a police body camera.

An internal review will determine if the officers’ actions were justified. The officer is currently on paid leave, which is normal procedure during an ongoing investigation.

There are also unanswered questions in the police shooting investigation, including whether the teen pointed the gun at police before the officer fired a shot, and if the teen was ordered to put the gun down and refused.