Here’s video from a few different angles of the events leading up to, and after, the shooting that was put together by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
One question I had was whether or not the police had already searched him for weapons before he ran. They had not, so the police did not know when he turned around to shoot the stolen Taser whether it was actually the Taser, or some other weapon that the man had produced. All the officers knew was that the man was drunk, fought them, was running, and pointed back at them.
What I do see is a couple of cops who were respectful, sympathetic, polite, and reasonable during the arrest. The victim initiated the violence and ran. He was definitely drunk, but might have had other drugs in his system too. The autopsy will tell us that, but it’s not really material. We don’t know why he ran. It seems like an odd choice given the relative banality of the arrest and the charge.
With the full benefit of hindsight, I do not think that the officer should have discharged his weapon. The man was running with a non-lethal weapon and was not an immediate deadly threat to anyone but himself. But in the seconds that the officer has to make that determination without the benefit of knowing what the victim did not have another weapon and was not a threat, I can’t fault the officer for his decision. You will also notice that there were a couple of African-American supervisors on the scene afterwards and did not seem to think that there was anything racially charged about the tragic events. I expect that if the victim were white, the same result would have occurred.