Fort Worth Police Release Body Cam Video Of JaQuavion Slaton Death

June 13, 2019 - 12:33 pm

FORT WORTH (1080 KRLD) - Fort Worth police have released body camera video of the events leading up to last weekend's officer-involved shooting.

Officers shot and killed 20-year-old JaQuavion Slaton last Sunday.

"We're hoping this shows that we're trying to be more transparent," says Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus. "We will take a step toward the community to meet them halfway or more than halfway to try to build the trust that we so desperately need to try to work together."

Kraus first showed video of officers arresting another suspect when they were called the same disturbance.

"I show you that video to illustrate that our officers were not on a mission to take anyone's life that day," he says.

He then showed body camera footage of officers approaching the car where Slaton was sitting. Kraus says the video shows Slaton make an "overt action," and previous video shows Slaton running with a gun.

Officers surrounded the car with their guns drawn.

"The officers made the tactical decision, first to go behind the vehicle. They realized the field of fire put other people in danger. They moved in front of the vehicle as a shielding mechanism," Kraus says.

The video shows officers firing through the windshield. Kraus says Slaton was found with a handgun that had recently been fired.

Kraus says investigators are still looking at ballistics evidence, and the Tarrant County Medical Examiner has not yet ruled on whether Slaton may have shot himself.

No officers were injured.

Several community leaders attended the presentation at the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex Thursday morning. They say the shooting has contributed to tension between community members and police.

"There was a video of an object. At the end of the day, no one can say conclusively what that object was," says activist Dominique Alexander.

Community members say if officers knew Slaton's history, they should have tried to talk to him to deescalate the situation.

"If they're confronted with somebody who's considered armed and dangerous, has a propensity for violence and has seated himself in a vehicle he could shoot out of, they don't necessarily have that option to deescalate," Kraus says.

Kraus says police are releasing the video more quickly than they would in most cases. Mayor Betsy Price says she hopes that release will help the community heal.

"We need to come together. We need to look at what's happening in our community," she says. "It's tragic for anyone to lose their life."

Price says she and police are meeting with ministers from the area to talk about how to rebuild trust between the community and police.

"Fighting and calling people names, calling our officers names, any of that is not going to be productive," she says.