Philadelphia police on Tuesday released surveillance footage of the death of Alexander Spencer, who is accused of shooting an officer before another officer shot and killed Spencer inside a North Philly convenience store.
Police identified Officer Raheem Hall, a six-year veteran of the department, as the officer who fatally shot Spencer. The name of the second officer has not been released.
The five-minute video compilation of the store’s security cameras includes multiple angles of the incident. The two officers were wearing body cameras but they were not on at the time of the incident, according to police.
Commissioner Kevin Bethel said they were putting the complete video out to combat misinformation tied to short snippets posted on social media.
“The dangerous rumors that come from the untruths that come from that are difficult to deal with. We are working hard to combat those rumors,” he said.
Separate investigations into Spencer’s death are being conducted by the Philadelphia Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office.
District Attorney Larry Krasner was present when video of the incident was shown at police headquarters. He said it’s important to make the video public.
“Over five minutes of video of what occurred inside the store where this fatal shooting occurred, that’s very important. The truth has [an] inherent value — the truth has to come out, that requires transparency,” Krasner said.
The video shows officers entering Jennifer’s Tavern in the Fairhill section of the city. Police say they were conducting a security check of the property and officers are seen checking several customers for weapons. Spencer is seen resisting the two officers, who wrestle with him to the ground. Enhanced video shows both officer’s officers guns holstered when the first shot was fired. One of the officers can then be seen pulling out his weapon and shooting Spencer in the back.
Spencer’s gun flew away after he was shot. It was picked up by a man identified by police as Jose Quinones Mendez, who they’re still looking for. The Fraternal Order of Police has put up a $10,000 reward.
On Tuesday, Bethel gave statistics showing the area around where the incident occurred was one of the most violent in the city.
In the last year, he said there were, “17 non-fatal victims shot, one juvenile and someone over 60; 23 robberies; 62 aggravated assaults; 25 narcotics arrests; and 14 illegal guns within 750 feet of the location.”
When pressed on why body-worn cameras were not activated at the time of the incident, Bethel said the issue would be addressed in the internal investigation.
“We will walk through that process as part of our investigation to determine whether it should have been turned on or not and if our policies need to be adjusted around that,” he said.
Body cameras are not on at all times because of the amount of data storage that would be necessary to save the video at the end of a shift.
Krasner said his office is reviewing every frame of the surveillance video, in addition to any other physical evidence.
“We’re going to have to wait for toxicology that comes off the autopsy,” he said. “We’re going to have to wait for a lot of science and that’s science is crucial to learning with certainty exactly what happened here.”
Krasner said the investigation could take three months or more to complete.
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