A police officer in Florida on Wednesday shot and killed a Black woman after she allegedly stabbed someone to death. The chief of the Tallahassee Police Department confirmed both deaths at a press conference after widespread reports of the shooting on social media. Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell said the victim had a gun and pointed it at officers. However, an eyewitness contradicted that account.
Revell held a press conference a couple of hours after the shooting and reportedly said that “anger is justified.” He also confirmed the police officer is white.
Revell identified the shooting victim as a stabbing suspect.
The status of the officer’s body camera is uncertain, Revell said, indicating that if any exists it will be made available only after a grand jury hearing.
Revell’s press conference can be viewed below.
The shooting took place around 11 a.m. but no other information was immediately released.
One eye witness who identified himself as a resident of Leon Arms apartments said the victim came to him asking for help because she said someone had been stabbed. The witness said he followed the woman and when he rounded a corner, he heard a barrage of gunshots from police officers. He described it as “seven, eight rounds.” The witness also said that he saw police pull up, hop out of their cars and just start shooting. He said no one yelled “freeze” or “hands up.” At no point did the eyewitness ever say the victim had a gun.
The person filming the Facebook video at one point turned the camera on one officer — a white man — and identified him as the shooter.
The video did not provide a reason for the police encounter, but the Tallahassee Democrat reported that the city police department was responding to reports of a stabbing.
The Tallahassee Police Department’s “online map that tracks calls for service shows a pair of ‘active incidents,’ a weapons or firearms call on Holton Street just before 11 and a stabbing 15 minutes earlier on Saxon Street,” the Democrat wrote.
The officers should have all been wearing and activated their body cameras. City officials in 2018 approved the outfitting of all Tallahassee police officers with body cameras. According to a report at the time by the Tallahassee Democrat,
The shooting on Wednesday was at least the third officer-involved shooting in Tallahassee in the past two months. It was also the latest in a recent apparent spike of police killing Black people, including in Minnesota on Monday when George Floyd died after an officer pinned his neck to the ground with his knee. That followed Louisville police shooting Breonna Taylor as they served a warrant to the wrong home.