The off-duty officer warned him multiple times to back off and stop, but he didn’t listen, which cost him his life.
The incident began when an off-duty police officer, who lived in the neighborhood, approached four men who seemed to be arguing. You can hear her trying to de-escalate the situation by telling them to “calm down.”
Three of the men walked away, and the fourth, 39-year-old Leevon Smith, stayed and continued talking to her. She started to walk back into the building, and Smith grabbed her from behind.
He can be seen attempting to grab her firearm before she shoots him three times.
Although the audio and video on the clip are not correctly synced, you can hear them as they fight.
You can hear her saying, “I’ll kill you; I’ll kill you!”
Smith says, “You are going to have to kill me then.”
Then she says, “Watch this.”
You can hear three gunshots, and Smith decides he’s had enough and apologizes, “Baby, I’m sorry.” “I’m sorry. I don’t want to die.”
He should have thought about that before he attacked her. They transported Smith to the hospital in serious condition, but he died a few days later. The off-duty officer had minor injuries.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) released multiple videos of the deadly shooting. The clips show the two people fighting over the officer’s gun.
You can see the initial interaction the best in this video, but the audio is not synced with the video.
This angle is further away, but the audio matches up.
The final video catches the altercation from across the street.
The police report states that Smith posed an “imminent threat of battery.” In the arrest report, they charged Smith with aggravated battery.
As much as I would like to leave this story here, there is a lot to learn from what happened. From a tactical standpoint, how smart of a move was it to walk out of the building she was in by herself to confront multiple individuals?
As the men approach her, she stands there and leaves herself no room for a “reactionary gap.” A reactionary gap is the space you should maintain between you and the bad guy, so you have time to react to any sudden threat. Not only did she not leave herself an out or gap, but she also turned her back on the one that ended up attacking her. Luckily for her, he did not make his move until the other three were gone. Things would have probably turned out much differently if he had, and we would be reading about another police officer being shot.
I will give her this: once the attack began, she did her best to get control.
She drew her weapon, got off multiple shots during the struggle, and then held him at a distance with her “weak side” hand.
She has only been with the police department since June of last year. I always tell people you never know how you will react when the time comes, and when the time came for her, she wasn’t going down without a fight. Smith’s estate didn’t waste any time and is already going after the city and the officer for $10 million.
Unfortunately, you can sue anyone for anything. This case may not go to criminal court, but the civil process has already started.
Asking him if she had told him she’d kill him sounds like something I’d do. That being said, from a courtroom afterwards point of view, it’s probably better left unasked.
I agree, and I thought about pointing that out when I wrote it. From an “optics” point of view, what she said was probably not such a good idea.