Detroit cop who fatally shot 19-year-old man wasn’t wearing a body cam

The Detroit police officer who fatally shot a 19-year-old man behind an abandoned house on the west side was not wearing a body camera, and police said today they aren’t releasing dash-cam footage until the internal investigation is complete.

An unidentified officer said he shot Raynard Burton, who is black, because the suspect tried to reach for his department-issued gun outside a vacant house at Ostego and Webb.

Police won’t say whether the suspect was armed.

The Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality is urging police to release the dash-cam footage, identify the race and name of the officer and hand over the case to another agency.

Detroit police plan to handle the investigation internally with the help of Michigan State Police.

Police told us today that the dash-cam footage won’t be released until the internal investigation is turned over to the prosecutor’s office.

“Once they view (the dash-cam footage), we have no problem releasing it,” police spokesman Michael Woody to Motor City Muckraker. “We don’t want to create a false narrative so we want the prosecutor to have a chance to make a determination.”

Although Detroit police purchased body cams last year, officers from only two of the city’s 12 precincts are wearing them. The city is training officers in two other precincts to use body cams, and the hope is to have all of the precincts equipped with body cams by this summer.

The shooting occurred after Burton’s speeding car crashed into a building, police said. An unmarked patrol car that wasn’t using its lights was chasing Burton, who fled on foot after the crash. One of the officers in the car chased Burton on foot. Burton allegedly lunged at the cop, prompting him to shoot the suspect in the chest.

At a press conference today, Police Chief James Craig said he expects the investigation to be wrapped up by Monday. He said the officer who shot the suspect was black and a 22-year veteran of the department.

“The officer did indicate he was fearful for his safety,” Craig said.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.