Family of Desmon Ray calling for justice; demanding to see police body camera video

ALEA denies WBRC’s request to see body cam video

Family of man killed by Birmingham PD continues to press for answers

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Friday, April 23 ALEA denied WBRC’s request to see the Birmingham Police body cam video from the Desmon Ray shooting over Easter weekend.

This is the letter from ALEA:

The General Counsel for ALEA said the video is part of an ongoing investigation and not public record but rather privileged documentation and protected from disclosure.

Desmon Ray’s mother said she wants answers after her son was killed in an officer-involved shooting.

“Faith, strength, reveal. Justice is all I’m asking for. That’s it,” Lashonda Wilson, Desmon’s mother said.

All she and the rest of family and friends know is that Desmon Ray, 28, was shot and killed by a Birmingham Police officer over the Easter weekend after some sort of domestic situation inside a vehicle in North Birmingham. Once officers caught up with the car, they say Ray refused to stop before hitting a fence along 9th Avenue West. Eventually Ray got out of the car with a gun according to investigators. That’s when he was shot by police. He later died at UAB.

Thursday, dozens of people showed up at a vigil put on by the local Black Lives Matter group. Organizers called for transparency in the investigation.

Family and friends say Desmon had a big smile. They say once he walked in the room his smile lit up the city.

“It’s a very unfortunate reality that another mother, another father have to bury their child with no explanation as to why. What happened on Easter?” Eric Hall with Black Lives Matter Birmingham said.

While the family mourns, they’re relying heavily on their faith to get them through.

“Faith in God. We believe He sees everything that goes on. Justice will be served,” Kimberly Dye, a family member said

BLM Birmingham met with Birmingham Chief Patrick Smith and other department leadership but said officers could not give them any information. They are demanding to see the police body camera video from the incident.

Thursday afternoon, just three minutes after WBRC asked to see the police body camera video from that night, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency replied back to us then denied us seeing the video saying the situation is still under investigation. The city pointed WBRC in ALEA’s direction as well.

The state usually handles officer-involved shootings. In other states, police body camera video has been released shortly after incidents but here in Alabama it’s a different situation. Agencies can essentially release it on their time. Ray’s family and BLM Birmingham are tired of waiting. They want the video released now.

“It’s so many conversations going on, the best way to get transparency and for us to know the truth is to release the video,” Hall said.

We’ve also put in a formal records request with the city to see the videos.

Last year, city council approved money for police to upgrade body cameras to make it easier to upload the video among other things. We asked BPD if they’re using them and haven’t heard anything back yet.

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