Moss Point releases body cam video of fatal police shooting

Published 9:31 am Tuesday, October 15, 2019

MOSS POINT, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi city has released video from a police body camera showing one view of what led up to the fatal shooting of a man who was running away from officers.
The video released Monday factored into this month’s decision by a Jackson County grand jury to clear Moss Point Police Sgt. Lancen Shipman of criminal wrongdoing in the August shooting of Toussaint Diamon Sims.

It shows Shipman chasing Sims, first by car and then by foot. The images are shaky until Shipman gets close to Sims’ body, on the opposite site of a chain link fence. Another officer kicks a dark object in the nearby grass. Audio cuts in for the first time as Shipman says “there’s the gun,” and orders an accompanying officer to handcuff Sims’ limp wrist.

The audio didn’t capture the actual shooting, or anything that might have been said during the chase. The Biloxi Sun Herald reports that police have said Shipman’s microphone wasn’t on until they reached his body. Officials haven’t released video from other officers at the scene, nor a home surveillance video that Shipman’s attorney has said shows Sims holding the loaded weapon, which had an extended clip capable of firing 30 rounds of ammunition.

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Police had tried to arrest Sims earlier on multiple felony charges, including repeatedly fleeing police in other chases, aggravated assault, domestic violence and child endangerment. Police Chief Brandon Ashley has said that Shipman’s deadly force was justified because Sims refused to follow orders to stop or drop the weapon, and because he displayed the gun in a threatening manner during the foot pursuit.

Sims’ family is still preparing a lawsuit against the city and officers involved, attorney Brian Dunn said Monday. Dunn said the video “really doesn’t show us that much,” and contends Sims never engaged in “combative stance of physical movements,” despite having a gun.

“He wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. He was just trying to run away,” Dunn said. “Even running away with a firearm in hand doesn’t justify lethal force.”