December 3, 2023

IMPD releases video of Oct. 19 officer-involved shooting but missing body cam footage raises concern

Indianapolis police released edited video of an officer-involved shooting that happened on Oct. 19 on the city’s near south side. But missing body-cam footage of the incident is raising concerns. - FILE

Indianapolis police released edited video of an officer-involved shooting that happened on Oct. 19 on the city’s near south side. But missing body-cam footage of the incident is raising concerns.

FILE

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department released an edited video of an Oct. 19 officer-involved shooting incident. The shooting happened on the city’s near south side at a gas station in the 2000 block of Shelby Street.

The body-worn cameras of the officer who shot the man and a second officer at the scene did not activate automatically. The second officer manually activated his camera after the shooting took place, according to IMPD.

The edited video included footage from security cameras at the gas station and the body-worn camera of a third officer who was on the scene standing at the rear of the car where the man was shot. 

The security camera footage is of low quality that “the moment the officer discharged his service weapon is not visible,” according to IMPD.

The man who was shot was later identified as 38-year-old Anotine Beech. He was taken to a nearby hospital in stable condition, according to police.

His attorney, Andrew Clark Redd, released a statement expressing disappointment that the “body-worn camera was conveniently not operational during this encounter”. He said that the missing footage will “forever deny us the ability to determine whether this shooting was justified or another example of an excessive and unnecessary use of force by law enforcement”. 

IMPD had started using body-worn cameras in 2020. They explained in the video that the cameras self-activate automatically if an officer “arrives within 500 feet of a dispatch run, begins to run, violently shakes during a physical altercation, the camera is in a horizontal position for an extended period of time, if an officer activates emergency equipment within his or her patrol vehicle, or if an officer activates the camera by using a remote.” 

The video, however, doesn’t explain why the body-worn cameras of the officers involved in this incident did not self-activate.

According to police, the officers were at the gas station after investigating an “unrelated robbery”. They were approached by a person who told them that Beech, who was sitting in the front passenger seat of a white sedan by the gas station pumps, had an active warrant for his arrest.

Security camera footage showed three officers approaching and surrounding the car –– one at the rear of the car, another on the passenger’s side and the officer who shot Beech stood at the front of the car. The officers saw a firearm within his reach, according to IMPD. 

Officers told criminal investigators that Beech moved his right hand to his left side where the weapon was observed and that’s when IMPD officer Ryan Thomas shot Beech.

The only body-worn camera that was activated at that point was of the officer at the rear of the car. It shows him knocking on Beech’s window, officers are heard giving repeated commands for Beech to show his hands while shouting “don’t do it,” and then around 10 seconds gunshots are heard.

“You shot me in my chest,” Beech was heard screaming as officers helped him step out of the car. According to IMPD, Beech was shot in his right hand and had a laceration to his chest. There were no bullet fragments or foreign objects in his chest, according to police. 

The weapon in Beech’s car or the moment he reached for it were not clearly shown in the video. But IMPD showed still photos of a handgun in the vehicle located where Beech was sitting.

Redd, Beech’s attorney said, “based on the evidence that is currently available to us, we have serious doubts as to the reasonableness of Officer Thomas’ actions.” He added that they are currently exploring Beech’s legal options.

After the shooting, Beech was later arrested on warrants “for dealing cocaine, resisting law enforcement and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. He was additionally charged with level 4 felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felony,” according to IMPD.

Contact WFYI's Health Editor Farah Yousry at fyousry@wfyi.org.

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