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In February, Concord police said one of their officers shot and killed Brandon Combs following a “physical confrontation” at a car dealership where he was attempting to steal a truck.
Now lawyers for Combs’ mother say that based on police video they viewed last week, there was no fight between the 29-year-old policeman and Timothy Larson before the officer did not open fire on February 13.
Body camera footage of Larson – which attorneys say they were first seen on Thursday under a court order but have not yet been made public – shows a short foot chase in the parking lot between the officer and suspect that ended when the unarmed Combs climbed into the driver’s seat of Larson’s police SUV, attorneys say.
When Larson arrived on the passenger side of his vehicle, he shot Combs five times through the windshield, the attorneys said in a statement.
Larson then stopped to call the shooting to his department. At the end of the call, Larson shot the mortally wounded Combs again, civil rights attorney Harry Daniels told the Charlotte Observer on Monday.
Larson could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Daniels, who represented the family of Andre Brown after his 2021 shooting death by deputies in Elizabeth City, says the footage of Combs is one of the worst police shooting videos he has ever seen.
He says Combs’ death didn’t get the attention it deserves because the police department omitted relevant facts from its statement and presented the shooting as an “open and closed case.”
The video, which attorneys watched at the police department, changes all that, Daniels said.
“We didn’t know anything until we saw him. We watched it in complete disbelief,” said Daniels, an Atlanta-based attorney who once applied to become a Mecklenburg County sheriff’s deputy.
“The most disturbing thing is not the needless use of lethal force, but that (Larson) stopped and then used lethal force again. The first five hits were pretty bad. The last hit was overdone , man. That was overkill. I can’t make sense of it.
Now Daniels and the other attorneys representing Combs’ family are asking Cabarrus County District Attorney Roxann Vaneekhoven to take the rare step in North Carolina of charging Larson with a crime or seeking an indictment by a grand jury.
They also want the longtime prosecutor to meet with Combs’ mother, Virginia Tayara, and have the police release the video of the shooting.
Vaneekhoven and his office did not return a phone call from Observer on Monday requesting information about the case.
Tayara is expected to speak about her son’s death at a 10 a.m. news conference on Tuesday outside Concord City Hall.
Daniels said Tayara did not watch the police video. In fact, she didn’t know anything unusual about her son’s death until the Bureau of State Investigation told her that Combs had been shot while inside a vehicle. police, he said.
According to Daniels, Larson, who police say had been on the job for two years when the shooting happened, no longer works for the department.
Asked about Larson’s professional status and whether he had been fired or resigned, Concord police referred the questions to the City of Concord. A city spokeswoman said it would be Tuesday before information about Larson’s employment and disciplinary records became available.
The SBI, which investigated the shooting, sent its findings to Vaneekhoven earlier this month for its review, agency spokeswoman Anjanette Grube said.
“Do you represent the citizens of Cabarrus County or the police officers of Cabarrus County,” Daniels said of Vaneekhoven.
“We are about to find out.”
Police use lethal force
In North Carolina and all other states, police officers are justified in using deadly force if they have reasonable grounds to believe that they, their colleagues, or the public are at imminent risk of death or injury. serious.
The law is written around a landmark Supreme Court case, Graham v. Connor, who was born in Charlotte.
Police fatally kill around 1,000 people every year, a number that has remained largely unchanged despite widespread policing reforms following the deaths of George Floyd and others, according to The Washington Post, which has tracked shootings involving officers over the past five years.
Combs and Larson are white.
Prosecutions of cops for on-duty shootings are rare; beliefs even more.
In Charlotte, the trial following the arrest of the first officer for a shooting on duty for more than 30 years ended in a hung jury in 2015, with a majority of members voting to acquit. Charges against the officer were later dropped.
In Combs’ case, the police statement after the shooting says the confrontation happened at 5 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 13 at the Modern Nissan dealership on Concord Parkway South. There, according to Daniels, Combs was caught in the act of attempting to steal a Nissan pickup.
“The officer gave the suspect several verbal orders to stop what he was doing. The suspect refused,” Major Robert Ledwell said in the police statement after the shooting. afterwards, the officer discharged (his) department-issued handgun, striking the suspect.
Combs died later that day at Atrium Health Cabarrus.
The chase between Larson and Combs, which Daniels said was caught on the officer’s camera, was not mentioned in the police statement, nor was the fact that Combs died inside a police vehicle.
Under the Concord Police Department’s Use of Force Policy, officers are prohibited from shooting at vehicles unless they or others are targeted by “deadly physical force” other that a vehicle, or that “the moving vehicle poses an imminent and continuing threat of significant physical harm”. to the officer or other person from whom there is no reasonable means of escape.
According to Daniels, neither condition was a factor in Combs’ death. The video shows that the SUV was not moving; Combs was unarmed; and Larson was standing to the side of the vehicle and not directly in its path, the attorney claims.
According to his own comments on the video, Larson acknowledged that he was not in imminent danger, according to Daniels.
When asked why he shot Combs, the officer replied, “He was trying to take my car,” Daniels said.
This is a developing story.
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