Tracy police address officer who shot Muslim teen, release footage
TRACY, Calif. - The Tracy Police Department held a press conference on Tuesday evening regarding an officer-involved shooting of a Muslim teen that occurred on Friday.
An officer shot a 17-year-old boy whom the department alleges was wielding a knife.
Officer-worn body camera (BWC) footage shared at the press conference shows the suspect holding a knife as the officer, identified only as Officer Ramirez, orders him to drop it five times. The officer then shoots the suspect, later identified as a 17-year-old teen. He was taken to a hospital where he continues to be in serious but stable condition, according to police.
Initially, officers were dispatched to the area of Silvertail Place and Foxtail Way around 1:56 p.m. on. report of "suspicious circumstances" between two males. At the press conference, police played the 911 call from a neighbor reporting a male chasing another with a knife.
Police have identified the two subjects involved as brothers. Footage from a surveillance camera taken nine minutes before the police arrived allegedly showed several of the family members in a scuffle in the street.
According to the Tracy police bodycamera footage, when the first officer arrived, he made contact with the knife-wielding male and the suspect approached him. The suspect is given commands to drop the knife, but fails to do so and continues to approach the officer and his brother, police claim.
"Fearing for his safety and the safety of those in the area, the officer discharged his duty firearm, striking the individual," reads a statement released by the Tracy Police Department. "A large knife was recovered from the scene."
Police said that the knife appeared to be at least six inches long, but later showed an image of an eight-inch knife.
Police Chief Sekou Millington said that the officer did have a taser, but "didn't have time to react to consider a taser" instead of a gun.
The teen was immediately surrounded by family members after he was shot, which police said hindered their ability to immediately render first aid. Three minutes and 17 seconds after the shooting, officers were able to apply a tourniquet to the suspect's arm and compress a wound on his stomach.
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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of Sacramento has called for a "fully transparent and independent" investigation of the shooting, which they say was of a Muslim teen.
Police Chief Sekou Millington admitted at the press briefing that there was a language barrier between the officer and the teen. "There's no doubt about that," he said, but the Chief said that there was the "universal language" of a uniformed police officer with his weapon drawn, "No matter where you're from, is understood, don't approach with a deadly weapon." \
Chief Millington said the argument involved the brother then the father, and then other family members.
"You see in the video, the suspect strikes the mother, knocks her down, strikes the sister and then strikes the father with the knife."
The department said their first priority is to see that the teen gets the medical attention that he needs, but that the District Attorney's Office is consulting with them and they will likely seek charges of assault with a deadly weapon on multiple counts.