New details suggest that an off-duty police officer in North Carolina who shot and killed an unarmed Black man over the weekend under questionable circumstances didn’t need to use lethal force — or any force at all — even though the contents of his 911 call show he was determined to use his gun.
Cumberland County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeffrey Hash said on the 911 call he placed after killing Jason Walker on Saturday that he felt he “just had to shoot” the 37-year-old Black man who an eyewitness said was only trying to cross the street when he was shot in Fayetteville. Conversely, Hash says Walker ran into the street, jumped on his truck while it was being driven and ripped windshield wipers off before smashing the windshield.
“I just had a male jump on my vehicle and broke my windshield. I just shot him. I am a deputy sheriff,” Hash said on the 911 call that was released on Tuesday. Hash confirmed Walker’s death by callously telling the 911 dispatcher, “He’s gone.”
During the 911 call, an eyewitness named Elizabeth Ricks identified herself to Hash as a “trauma nurse” and began rendering aid to Walker, something that the off-duty officer never attempted to do.
Hash, who confirmed to the dispatcher that Walker was not armed, can be heard on the 911 call telling Ricks: “He jumped on my vehicle. I just had to shoot him.”
Ricks spoke extensively Tuesday during an interview with local news outlet 11 ABC to suggest that Hash was hasty in shooting Walker.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who’s been retained to represent Walker’s family, wondered in a press release if “Walker shot in the back as he tried to return home” and said Ricks’ eyewitness account was pivotal to the case and suggests, at the very least, dereliction of duty on Hash’s part.
“This compelling interview with Elizabeth Ricks, one of the few witnesses to Jason Walker’s senseless killing, begins to clear up some of the facts in this case,” Crump said in a statement on Wednesday. “The fact that a civilian was the only person that rendered aid to Jason as he took his last breath is horrifying. It is apparent by Ms. Ricks’ accounts that the off-duty officer who was involved in this incident, as well as the officers who responded to the incident, were self-interested and concerned about obscuring how the public would see this killing, rather than concerned for Jason in his final moments.”
It was not immediately clear where on Walker’s body he was shot.
Ricks had previously said that she “did not see anyone in distress” when Hash shot Walker, whom she described as “just walking home.”
Nevertheless, police seemed to readily accept Hash’s narrative and placed the officer on paid leave. As of Wednesday afternoon, Hash had neither been arrested nor charged for the shooting and remained gainfully employed by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.
TikTok user ARonUNC pointed to Facebook posts from Ricks (who goes by Ellie Ash online) and Chase Holden Sorrell challenging the police’s official version of events.
The below video contains graphic footage, please watch it with discretion.
In their respective posts, the couple shared accounts of what transpired, never once mentioning Walker “jump,” or otherwise intentionally damaging the deputy’s car.
According to Ricks’ since-deleted post, Walker was crossing the road when the deputy hit him and then shot him after he landed on the hood of his car. She also didn’t believe the deputy was acting in defense of his family.
Sorrell shared he wanted to expose the officer’s actions and help get justice for Walker.
“There was absolutely no reason this officer should have shot this man in the back after hitting him with his truck,” Sorrell wrote.
A GoFundMe created for Walker’s funeral was also shared on Sunday. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than $8,000 of a $50,000 goal had been donated.
Walker shooting came less than a week after a suspected white supremacist shot and killed a Black driver in an apparent fit of road rage, also in Fayetteville. In that case, Roger Dale Nobles — who does not have the privilege of being a police officer — was arrested and charged with the first-degree murder of 32-year-old Stephen Addison.
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