Three years ago, Keston Charles, a New York teen, was shot at sixteen times by the NYPD for wielding a fake BB gun. Fortunately, Keston survived the shooting after three bullets hit him in the buttocks, side, and chest during a foot chase.
A video recording of the shooting, obtained by the New York Daily News, shows the teen, who is now 15, posed no threat during the incident. Charles’ lawyers say the teen dropped the gun and had his hands above his head when Officer Jonathan Rivera fired his weapon.
The incident recalls the tragic shooting death of Tamir Rice, who met a different fate. In November 2014, Cleveland, Ohio, police shot and killed the 12-year-old child as he held a toy gun in a local park.
Charles says he was in an nonthreatening position when the shots were fired.
“I put up my hands, they was still shooting,” he said during a sworn deposition.
When asked why he didn’t initially drop the gun during the chase, Charles said he was scared. “I was trying to get away. I never been shot at before,” he said.
Lawyers for the NYPD contend that Rivera was justified in using excessive force and allege Charles took aim at the officers with the BB gun during the chase.
The footage will be used as evidence in a pending lawsuit filed by Charles’ family against the city. Manhattan Federal Judge Kevin Castel will have to decide on whether the case will be dismissed or go to trial.
Surveillance footage reveals the intensity of the pursuit, showing Charles running away from the cops, quickly glancing over his shoulder, and then shows him limping away after he was hit in the buttocks.
The chase ends as Charles collapses in front of his building. When he reaches the doorway of the Brownsville Houses, he raises his hands above his head while Rivera fires twice more. A BB gun is not visible in the video when the last two shots strike him.
The teen was placed in a medically induced coma for three weeks and after surgery, he pleaded guilty to possessing a fake pistol in court.
Officers say they pursued Charles after they saw him grab the gun from a friend and point it at another young man during a fight with rivals in his neighborhood.
According to the Daily News, the city stands behind the officers actions after an internal review investigation. None of the officers involved have faced disciplinary action.
SOURCES: New York Daily News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter