BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith released body cam video and Ring video from an Easter officer-involved shooting that killed 28-year-old Desmon Montez Ray.
Smith showed video from two body cameras and a Ring video during a news conference on Tuesday, May 4.
Smith said the reason he released these videos is because the Department wants to maintain transparency in the investigation.
At approximately 10:50 p.m. Sunday, April 4, the Birmingham 911 Communication Division received a call stating that two people were involved in a domestic disturbance inside a vehicle in North Birmingham.
911 dispatchers were able to locate the car and send out the location to officers via police radio.
North Precinct officers observed the vehicle in the 300 block of 9th Avenue West.
Officers said they attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver, Desmon Ray, refused to stop.
Officers said Ray hit a fence in the 200 block of 9th Avenue West stopping the vehicle.
Ray then got out and investigators said he confronted officers with a firearm. Chief Smith said Ray fired one round at officers and an officer returned fire striking Ray.
Ray died at UAB Hospital.
Smith extended his condolences to the Ray family before sharing and discussing the videos.
GRAPHIC WARNING: The videos contain disturbing images, scenes and graphic language.
Smith released the Ring video first. He said the round of gunshots came from the handgun Ray had. Then there is a pause for 2.6 seconds, then officers moved into position and returned fire.
Smith said the next video showed the driver officer and the mindset that this was a true emergency. Bodyworn cameras have a 30-second delay in sound. You see the suspect, Ray, crash the vehicle into the fence. You can hear, “Shots fired!” and “Let me see your hands!” in the video. The officer-involved shooting is shown in this video. The video also shows officers telling Ray not to reach for anything. The video shows the handgun and a shell casing near the fence line. Smith said the gun was in arm’s reach of Ray. Officers are also heard requesting an ambulance twice. Chief Smith said you can also see and hear officers talk to the person in the vehicle to make sure that person was okay.
The third video shows a different angle of the officer-involved shooting.
Smith said there has been a lot of misinformation released in the community when it comes to this investigation and he wanted to make sure people in Birmingham know what happened, the facts that he knows, and he wants people to know the investigation will be handled above board.
Smith said when investigators release body cam video it can taint a witness’s point of view or interfere with an investigation, that’s why they debate and take time to consider whether or not to release video.
Smith clarified about the use of dash cams in patrol cars. Smith said the plan is to equip cars as they can, but not all patrol cars have cameras at this time.
Desmon Ray’s family was able to see the body cam video earlier this week.
A viewer shared Ring surveillance video with WBRC FOX6 News. You can hear gunshots in the area.