Updated April 10, 2018 at 8:50 p.m. EDT
The Danville Police Department released body camera footage Tuesday night of officers shooting dead Juan Markee Jones, which prompted demonstration and calls from the Black community for transparency.
It shows Jones, a 25-year-old Black man, ignoring police commands to show his hands and then stepping toward them before shots are fired,the Associated Press reported.
“They did not have to shoot him,”said Sarah Lipscomb, Jones’ aunt. She added that her nephew was unarmed, which the Virginia State Police confirmed.
Activists in south central Virginia were demanding to know exactly what led to the fatal police shooting of a 25-year-old Black man from their community early Sunday morning.
Approximately 100 demonstrators gathered Monday night at Danville’s City Hall, some carrying signs that read “We want answers” and “Black Lives Matter,” to press officials for the details surrounding the killing of Juan Markee Jones, GoDanRiver.com reported.
The Virginia State Police have joined the investigation into the shooting that happened around 1 a.m. Sunday, according to the Washington Post. Danville police officers were responding to a domestic disturbance when they encountered Jones, who was suspected of attacking a woman, a statement from the police department said.
Jones allegedly tried to flee from the officers by driving to a nearby wooded area, police said. When confronted again, he exited the vehicle but refused to show his hands, according to police. An attempt to Taser him failed, police said. Jones was shot when he turned on the officers in a “threatening” manner, according to the police version. No officers were injured in the incident. Initial reports do not indicate whether Jones was armed, but chances are if he had a gun it would have been emphasized by police.
After the shooting, Jones was transported to a hospital where he died, WDBJ-TV reported. His remains were awaiting an autopsy in Roanoke. The state police was expected to report its findings to the Commonwealth’s Attorney for review.
“It does not make sense,” demonstrator Michelle Trent toldGoDanRiver.com about the shooting. She urged calm and called on her fellow protesters to voice their concerns to local elected officials. “Let them see. Let them hear your voice,” she added.
Danville Police Department Chief Scott Booth addressed the protesters, as many of them drowned him out with their angry shouts. He declined to identify the officers involved in the shooting, but Booth vowed to reveal their names in the coming days.