Video shows Wash. police shooting wanted fugitive

Prosecutors said it was “reasonable" for Officer Tucker Seitz "to use deadly force” as Antonio Davis presented a “serious and immediate threat”

By Jonathan Glover
The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Police Department has released body camera footage showing the nonfatal shooting of Nevada felony suspect Antonio Davis.

Davis, 25, was arrested Sept. 18 after police say he led them on a chase at 2:30 a.m. through a residential neighborhood before crashing his car and running on foot. Unarmed, he was shot in the bicep by officer Tucker Seitz after the officer said Davis charged at him while attempting to flee.

Davis was treated at Sacred Heart Medical Center and booked into Spokane County Jail later that morning.

Body camera footage released Wednesday shows the incident from the vantage point of Seitz’s partner Chris McMurtrey, as well as surveillance video from a local business that caught parts of the chase and the shooting.

Seitz, an officer with the department since January 2016, did not activate his body camera. At a news conference Wednesday, Spokane police Capt. Brad Arleth said it’s not uncommon for an officer to mistakenly forget, or are unable to, activate their body camera. He said overall, Seitz has thousands of hours of logged body camera footage, saying he is “excellent” at following protocol.

Footage from McMurtrey shows the two officers confront Davis, who was standing next to a car near Lincoln Street and Maxwell Avenue. As McMurtrey exits his vehicle, he yells “you’re under arrest” at Davis while Seitz shines a spotlight on him.

Davis flees with an acquaintances, pursued by the two officers. Surveillance video taken from Louie’s Automotive and Transmission, 1323 N. Monroe St., shows the car traveling north on Monroe Street, before it turns west on Sinto Avenue and eventually crashing into a tree.

As the chase continues on foot, McMurtrey can be heard yelling “hey stop, I’ll shoot you. I will shoot you” as Davis fails to jump over a fence. Seitz can then be heard firing at Davis as he was running back toward the officer.

“You shot me,” Davis yells on the ground. “I ain’t gonna move. I ain’t gonna move. Oh my god. Call an ambulance … call an ambulance, please.”

The officers order Davis not to move while he yells in pain. They ask him to keep his arms out while they keep their weapons drawn.

Capt. Arleth, speaking at the news conference, said officers assumed Davis was armed based on previous bulletins from Nevada that said Davis was wanted for unlawful possession of a firearm, assault and shooting at a vehicle.

A minute and a half after he was shot, Davis continues to ask the officers for help while they wait for backup to arrive. Arleth said they were unsure if Davis’ passenger, who was not accounted for, was near the area and was armed.

Four minutes after Davis was shot, backup arrives and officers begin to render aid.

“Why did you shoot me?” Davis asks. “Why did you shoot me?”

On Dec. 5, prosecutors ruled the shooting justified and elected not to press charges against Seitz. In their decision, prosecutors said it was “reasonable for Officer Seitz to use deadly force” as Davis presented a “serious and immediate threat.”

“There is no indication Officer Seitz acted out of malice or lacked a good faith belief in the correctness of his actions,” prosecutors wrote in a news release. “Therefore, no criminal liability attaches and no criminal charges will be filed against Officer Seitz.”

In Davis’ car, officers found a handgun tucked in the driver’s side door. Davis’ passenger was arrested on Sept. 21 and extradited to Nevada. According to police, he has an unlawful possession of a firearm charge pending in Spokane County after a firearm was found on the ground near where he was running.

In October, Davis posted a $75,000 bond. He has been staying with his girlfriend while he waits to go to trial, his mother Vannessa Smith said.

According to court records, a judge recently ruled that Davis would not longer have a fugitive status while out in Spokane County, since Nevada officials have not pushed for extradition. Davis will have to return to Nevada after his criminal matter is resolved in Spokane, though.

“He’s just upset at this,” she said. “He’s trying his best to do what he needs to do.”

©2018 The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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