INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 9, 2015) — The widow of a man shot by police in April says the release of a body camera video showing the fatal shots didn’t provide his family closure.
“It was hard. It was really hard,” Debbie Long said of viewing the video.
Long’s husband, Mack Long, was in a car stopped by an IMPD officer. Long, a convicted felon, jumped from the car and ran out of fear he would be arrested for carrying a gun.
Debbie Long and her family had pushed for the video of the shooting to be released, even before a grand jury elected not to indict the two officers who shot long.
“We need to be able to fit the pieces of the puzzle together,” Long said.
The video starts as the officer, who was assigned a body camera just two days prior as part of a pilot program, gets the call. As he drives to the scene, you can hear radio traffic of a first officer, the one who stopped Long, yelling at him during a chase.
“Get down,” the first officer is heard yelling.
By the time the second officer gets there, Long and and first officer are behind a house, with a fence between them. Investigators said the two were struggling over the officer’s gun.
“Help! He’s got my gun, help,” you can hear the officer say as backup arrives.
Once the officer wearing the camera gets there, he quickly fires two shots at Long, killing him.
“It has been uncensored, untouched. It is what it is,” Chief Rick Hite said.
Hite said the video is unedited, but IMPD would not give FOX59 the file itself, instead playing the video at a news conference Thursday. It does not show the first officer firing a shot and hitting Long or what started the pursuit.
“That’s why it’s important to have witness testimony (and) it’s good to have physical evidence. We have DNA on the weapon to verify that it was in fact a struggle,” Hite said.
Long, though, wasn’t satisfied. She and other family members met with IMPD officers Thursday morning to view the video and were given the chance to ask questions.
“There’s only one truth and we haven’t seen that truth yet,” Long said.
She held a meeting Thursday night to figure out what to do next, saying she still wants a coroner’s inquest to allow for public release of all evidence.
“What we’re seeking is, why did it get to that point? He was already shot, we want to know why was he shot?” Long said.
Investigators said those questions are answered in parts of the video, including the verbal commands the first officer is heard giving to Long. They also said evidence shows Long was shot in the side as he turned away from the officer in a motion that he perceived to be threatening.
The video does give IMPD a case for implementing body cameras permanently. The pilot program that has 65 cameras on the streets is ending and the city will need to decide whether to fork up millions of dollars to pay for cameras on every officer.
“We want our officers to have video cameras. It’s important to have that. We want the best technology out there,” Hite said.
As for Long, she said her family would continue to push for answers.
“At this point we’re pressing forward and we’re looking for facts,” Long said.
Investigators said a second video, shot by a witness, turned out to be only eight seconds long and did not capture the shooting.
The two officers in the video are still on administrative leave, attending counseling before they’re cleared to return to duty.