Houston’s mayor has released graphic body cam and business footage video in the police shooting death of Alva Braziel, saying that he wants to prevent officers from being shot because of what he called false social media narratives that Braziel was unarmed. According to ABC 13, all footage from the shooting was released Thursday.
Watch the video posted online by the Houston Police Department on July 21 of the Alva Braziel shooting here (warning, graphic). The video shows a gun in the hand of Braziel, as his body lies dead on the street and a witness shouts comments. In the video, the two officers say Braziel had pointed the gun at them.
The mayor, Sylvester Turner, said Thursday in the live news conference that he decided to release all of the official videos online, including body cam footage, to “establish what the facts actually are” and “debunk what has been put out on social media, that this was an unarmed person…with no weapon in his hand.” He said the videos “speak for themselves.”
Furthermore, he said, that a citizen from the neighborhood can be heard on one video saying that Braziel had a gun. “I can’t make up the facts. The facts are what they are,” said the mayor. “This was not the case of an unarmed person shot to death by the police… most would agree that if you are holding up a gun…and you turn around and point it, the results are not going to be good.” The Houston mayor said he didn’t want “a single police officer” shot or hurt based on “erroneous information. The community and the police must work hand-in-hand. We both need each other. We’re not on opposite teams.”
Watch the livestream as the mayor explains his decision to release of the videos:
There were conflicting reports about how many times Braziel was shot and what led up to his death. Asked by a reporter whether Braziel was shot 10 times, the mayor said that Braziel was walking down the street with a gun in his hand, turned around, and pointed it in the direction of the police officers. He did not directly address the reporter’s question on the number of shots other than to say it was “multiple times.”
A police news release obtained by Heavy identifies the officers as “Officers L. Lopez and E. Macias, who discharged their duty weapons.” The release said neither officer was injured, and both were assigned to the gang division.
In an earlier news conference on July 20, Turner said: “It’s important for people to have accurate information and not protesting based on a false narrative,” according to ABC13. Turner also told reporters that the “social media narrative” on Braziel is “false.”
Houston Press said the mayor stressed that Braziel was armed when Houston police shot him, despite reports to the contrary on social media. “Let me be very clear: At 12:38 a.m. on that Saturday morning, Mr. Braziel was walking in the middle of the street,” the mayor said, according to Houston Press. “Mr. Braziel had a gun in his hand, and this was not an unarmed person. I know the video will speak for that.” He said the videos show “Braziel holding a handgun and waving it at the officers while refusing their commands,” said Houston Press.
Fox26 says the mayor wants the footage released Thursday to give the family a chance to view it.
According to Newsweek, police said “they shot Braziel after encountering him in the street early Saturday morning while on routine patrol.” Newsweek cited police as saying that “Braziel was pointing a firearm at the sky, police said, and they ordered him to lower the weapon.”
Newsweek reported that Braziel instead “deliberately and slowly lowers his arm and allows it to come to a stop at his waist…directly pointing the gun at the officers. Police discharged their weapons and Braziel, who did not fire any shots, died at the scene.” Newsweek quoted the police spokesperson for its account of the shooting.
Watch the police news conference on the videos’ release here:
According to The Houston Chronicle, Braziel, a 38-year-old man nicknamed “Groucho,” was a felon and thus was not legally allowed to possess a gun. The Chronicle says Braziel’s friends said he was “searching for a stolen horse” when he was shot after “waving a gun when he was approached by two officers, authorities said.”
Police shootings across the country have sparked protest and outrage, especially in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, and have led to the shooting deaths of police officers. A Black Lives Matter protest is planned for Saturday over the Alva Braziel shooting.
Previously, videos were posted on YouTube relating to the Alva Braziel shooting. The Houston Chronicle said the mayor is concerned because that surveillance video from a nearby gas station has “circulated on social media, with some people suggesting the footage shows Braziel had his hands up before he was shot and wasn’t armed.” The video is dark, and it’s hard to see what really happened, The Chronicle said.