April 21, 2024

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Body cam video shows Da’Shontay King drop gun, pick it up, ignore orders while fleeing before being shot | Crime and Courts







Da'Shontay King headshot

King


RACINE — Body camera footage of the moments surrounding the May 20 fatal police shooting of Da’Shontay King show King drop a handgun as he ran away from an officer, then bend over and pick up the gun before being shot.

The video was released along with a 27-page decision issued by Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson Tuesday, in which Hanson announced her decision not to file any criminal charges against Brenner.

May 20







Zachary Brenner

Brenner


“Stop! You’re going to get shot! You’re going to get f—ing shot!” Racine Police Officer Zachary Brenner yelled at the outset of the foot pursuit, body camera video and audio shows.

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The video and audio were played in public for the first time during a press conference Tuesday evening. They have now been released and are online.

Racine Police Chief Maurice Robinson said during a press conference Tuesday evening that Brenner believed from the outset of the foot chase that it appeared King had a gun because of how King reached to his waistband. It was not until after King dropped the gun and tried to pick it up again, and after King ignored multiple demands to stop running away, that Brenner opened fire.

Four shots were fired, at least three of which hit King, according to a preliminary autopsy report.

Atlas

“Da’Shontay King made a series of decisions that had tragic consequences,” Robinson said; after dropping the gun, King “made the decision to re-arm himself.”

The chase began because, according to police, King was in a 2021 Volkswagen Atlas for which there was an active search warrant. The Atlas, which was a rental, was associated with King and another individual who has not been publicly identified other than by their initials, E.A.S., and month of birth, May 1980.

“Officer Brenner stated that he reviewed the search warrant (for the Atlas) and that he recognized the names (King and E.A.S.) from other recent shooting investigations where the names had been mentioned as being involved, but that he had never had contact with the two people mentioned in the warrant,” the DA’s decision stated. “Officer Brenner was aware at the time he located the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas, driven by Mr. King, that he was executing a stop of the vehicle to search it and its occupants for firearms. A judge had already found probable cause authorizing the search.”

Officers reported that the Atlas had a prior bullet hole in the rear passenger door and that inside the vehicle there was a black balaclava and a baggie with 9.3 grams of cocaine, as well as King’s wallet and other personal items.

“This was not a vehicle stop for a traffic violation,” the decision continued, “the search warrant itself demanded a higher level of attention and care by its very nature. The search warrant made note of the fact that Mr. King was free on bond after having been charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, a fact that Officer Brenner was aware of from the warrant.”

Law enforcement said that Brenner kept photos of King and E.A.S. in his squad car’s visor “at all times” after being told about the search warrant for the Atlas on May 17 by an investigator from the Special Investigations Unit.

On May 20, after Brenner started his shift as a Community Oriented Policing officer and soon after attempted a traffic stop on the Volkswagen Atlas. The Atlas pulled into a house’s driveway moments after Brenner activated his police lights, and King got out of the car and ran.

Brenner

Robinson said Brenner “waited as long as he could” before opening fire.

Brenner “was obviously shaken up by the incident” and “is doing as well as can be expected … and is ready to come back to work,” Robinson said.

Robinson said that Brenner has never faced discipline since he joined the police force in January 2018. He is now to be placed on administrative light duty for approximately 30-45 days while the RPD conducts a further review of May 20.

Brenner has also been enlisted in the Army Reserves for 6½ years; he holds the rank of Army specialist.

Priority: Get guns off the streets

Since soon after becoming police chief, Robinson has aimed to crack down on rising rates of gun violence in the city. Robinson said that the Racine Police Department has been intentionally aiming to make arrests against felons in possession of firearms and others wanted for similar gun-related offenses.

To felons in possession of a firearm and others committing crimes, Robinson advised “that you do not have a firearm” and do not commit further crimes if you do not want to be arrested or flee from police officers who seek to make an arrest.

CORRECTION: The investigator who informed Racine Police Officer Zachary Brenner of a search warrant for a 2021 Volkswagen Atlas, in which Da’Shontay King was found and ran away from prior to his May 20 death, was part of the Street Investigations Unit. The unit of the unit the investigator was part of was initially printed incorrectly in this article. It is now correct.