Las Vegas police held a press conference Monday to explain how they ended up shooting an unarmed man to death who refused to drop a cell phone on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve.
They also released footage from the body cam of one of the officers, but stopped short of showing the actual shooting.
The other officer who shot and killed Keith Childress, Jr. was wearing a body cam, but had it turned off, according Undersheriff Kevin McMahill of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
Despite telling reporters that the officers feared for their lives because they thought Childress was holding a gun, McMahill also said that the cell phone was found inside Childress’ pocket after he was killed.
The footage they did release show cops yelling at Childress to drop the gun, but he continues to stroll in their general direction with one hand in his pocket, the other swinging by his side.
On Monday, as McMahill reviewed the incident, he played body camera footage. But the only clip available came from the collar of Sgt. Robert Bohanon, a 37-year-old, 18.5-year veteran of the force. The other officer involved — 27-year-old Blake Wolford, who’s been on the force for just more than a year — did not activate his body camera.
“I don’t know why he didn’t turn it on as of yet,” McMahill said. “We have a policy that requires them to turn it on.”
When asked what the consequences to that would be, McMahill said, “it depends.”
“We’ve had circumstances where they simply forgot; we’ve had (circumstances) where their equipment was inoperable,” he said. “I have to let the investigation fully vet itself out.”
The other issue that led to the shooting was that U.S. Marshals had told Las Vegas police that he was wanted for attempted murder when he was wanted for skipping out of his sentencing for other convictions, including burglary, armed robbery, kidnapping, theft and aggravated assault.
The U.S. Marshals office did not respond to an interview request from the Las Vegas Review-Journal to explain why they passed along false information to police. Las Vegas Now posted audio from the U.S. Marshals telling Las Vegas police that Childress was an attempted murder suspect.
Watch the video from the Review-Journal below, showing the footage they released along with statements from police. And here is a news report out of San Diego where Childress was from, which includes statements from family members.