Denver police on Tuesday released surveillance video and body camera footage of three officers shooting an armed man and injuring six innocent bystanders outside busy downtown bars on July 17.
The videos for the first time show from start to finish the shooting, which will be investigated by a grand jury. Denver police officials previously made public still images they selected from the videos but denied public records requests by The Denver Post and other news outlets to release the videos in their entirety.
The videos show several officers walking north on Larimer Street paralleling the armed man, Jordan Waddy, as he moved through the crowd on the sidewalk. Officers followed Waddy because they saw him punch another man during a fight, which was captured on a city surveillance video.
Please note: This video contains images some may find disturbing. The footage provided by DPD includes partial audio near the end of each clip.
As officers followed Waddy, he stepped between two parked cars and onto the street and raised his hands when he saw police.
Waddy turned his back to the officers and walked back between the two cars and onto the sidewalk, the videos show. Waddy then turned to face the officers and grabbed a gun from his clothing as officers yelled “stop” and “get down.”
Body camera footage shows Waddy throwing the gun to the ground as officers opened fire.
Denver police previously said Waddy was holding the gun by the slide on the top when the officers fired. It’s not clear if Waddy could have fired the gun while holding it that way, Cmdr. Matt Clark said at a July 20 news conference. He said the officers believed the muzzle of the gun pointed at them as Waddy pulled it out.
Two officers shot a combined five rounds while facing Waddy with the front wall of Larimer Beer Hall behind him. A third officer fired one round from Waddy’s right side and a crowd of people is visible behind Waddy in the officer’s body camera footage.
“The Department of Safety and Denver Police Department remain concerned about the health and wellbeing of those who were injured in this incident and will continue to offer support to aid in their healing,” the departments said in a joint statement Tuesday.
Three of the bystanders shot by police have called for accountability for the officers, who were placed on paid administrative leave while their actions are investigated.
“These videos are yet another sickening example of Denver Police Officers exercising excessive, lethal force without justification or concern for the safety of innocent bystanders,” attorneys at Rathod Mohamedbhai said on behalf of three of the victims shot by police. “It is a miracle that more bystanders were not injured and that nobody was killed.”
The Denver Police Department was obligated to release the footage under SB-217, the police accountability law passed in 2020 amid mass protests of the murder of George Floyd. The law set deadlines for the mandated release of body camera footage in cases where there is an allegation of police misconduct. In incidents where a criminal case is filed — like the case against Waddy — the law requires agencies to release body camera footage within 21 days of the date the defendant gets an attorney. The defendant then has a chance to object to the release of the footage.
Waddy faces three counts of possession of a weapon by a previous offender and one count of third-degree assault in connection to the incident. Waddy’s attorneys did not object to the release of the videos in his case.
The five videos from officers’ body cameras lack audio at the beginning. The body cameras used by Denver police officers are constantly recording video without audio when not activated. The cameras record audio when activated, but the camera retains the 30 seconds of video without audio recorded prior to activation.
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