** (Disclaimer: This video content is intended for educational and informational purposes only) **
Police released video footage Tuesday of the fatal shooting of Elijah James Smith, 20 from Sunday, April 8. Smith was approached by police officers after a call of theft at a cell phone store in West Valley City, Utah. Police followed Elijah James Smith as he fled on foot. The report from police said Smith entered two homes while he was running from police. In the second home three children were home alone, the oldest 13, who told the pursuing officers that a stranger was in the garage after barging into the home. Police cornered Smith in the garage with weapons raised and told him to show his hands. “We want to be transparent we want to release the video as soon as we can,” Police Chief Colleen Jacobs said. “I am sad for his loss. It is an unfortunate incident that Mr. Smith lost his life in this incident. He did not lose his life because of his race.”
She said his hand came up in a rapid motion that officers saw as a threat. Two officers fired. “Both officers perceived that as a threat at the same time and they both fired,” Jacobs said. According to the police report, officers told Smith to raise his hands in some variation 15 times in 24 seconds. Police gave this account of the shooting, shown on body camera footage released today. Alexis Smith, sister of Elijah James Smith, said watching the video was emotional. “I don’t think that was right for that officer to do that, even though his hand was in the pocket they should have still Tased him and tackled him. I just think he was going to put the other hand up,” she said.
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