Body cam footage shows rookie cop shoot fleeing Black teenager in the back
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A burglary suspect is crying foul after he was shot in the back by police and left with a bullet in his abdomen.
A rookie cop shot 18-year-old Deontrace Ward as he exited a home he was burglarizing. The body cam video obtained by the Virginian-Pilot shows that Ward had a gun in his pants leg, but didn’t brandish the weapon when he was shot and injured. Ward allegedly stole jewelry from a Portsmouth home and was making his get-away when the confrontation with police occurred.
“I feel he shot for no reason,” said Ward. “I was just pretty much trying to get away. Showing no aggression.”
The video may prove problematic for Officer Jeremy Durocher, showing that Ward wasn’t an immediate threat and shedding new light on the controversial case. Durocher has since been placed on administrative duty. He says that Ward was “carrying a weapon that was definitely visible.”
WARNING: Video contains footage of a shooting and foul language
Nicholas Renninger, Durocher’s attorney contends that the shooting was “absolutely justified, without reservation.”
“The suspect was armed, had burglarized a home and was clearly a danger and a threat in that regard,” Renninger said. “I have no qualms whatsoever in saying that my client’s actions in protecting himself and those around him were justified.”
Ward goes to court May 1 on charges of armed statutory burglary, assault of a police officer and possession of a firearm by a felon. There is a total of six felony charges.
In 2016, Ward was found delinquent of felony theft when he was 17, in Portsmouth Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.
Ward’s family wants Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales to prosecute Durocher.
Morales released this statement:
“Upon completion of our investigation we will apply the law to the facts and determine whether use of force was justified or not pursuant to the law,” she said.
“It was heartbreaking to see my son shot while running away,” his mother, Eboni West, said later. “He didn’t deserve to get shot.”