Editor's note: The video released by police can be found here. Please note: Video of this incident may be disturbing to viewers. Subtitles were added by the police.
What to Know
- On Tuesday, officials released body cam footage of a deadly police shooting in Wilmington, Delaware, that occurred in January.
- Family members of Lymond Moses, the man who was killed, say the video refutes the initial statement from police that Moses drove directly at the officers, forcing them to open fire.
- The family called for the officers to be fired and prosecuted and also asked for President Joe Biden's help as the investigation continues.
Loved ones of a man who was shot and killed by police in Delaware are asking for help from President Joe Biden after officials released body camera footage which the family says refutes a statement from investigators that the man drove directly at the officers, forcing them to open fire.
On Jan. 13, around 1:10 a.m., New Castle County Division of Police officers responded to a vehicle near Rosemont Avenue and E. 24th Street in Wilmington, Delaware.
Footage released Tuesday shows three officers speaking to the man inside the vehicle. He was later identified as Lymond Moses, 30, of Bear, Delaware. The footage includes body camera video from three officers involved in the incident.
The footage shows the officers approaching Moses as he sits inside the car, telling him that they saw he was sleeping and wanted to talk to him.
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Moses repeatedly tells the officers his mother lives nearby. The officers tell him to relax and that they’re trying to help him out.
One of the officers says he notices marijuana inside Moses’ car.
“All right man, well we’re just out here man looking for stolen cars, we see you sleeping and you got weed sitting right here,” the officer says. “We thought we make contact and make sure you are all right.”
Moses then tells the officers that his car isn’t stolen.
“Nobody said it was,” one of the officers says. “We just said that’s why we are out here looking.”
One of the officers then tells Moses to “hop out” of the vehicle while another officer tells him not to resist and to cooperate.
“If it’s just weed, we don’t give a s*** about weed,” one of the officers says.
The officers continue to tell Moses to step out of his vehicle and relax. The video then shows Moses starting his car and driving off while the officers tell him not to leave.
The officers then get into their vehicles and drive after Moses. After a few seconds, the officers get out of their cars as Moses slowly reverses his vehicle toward a dead-end.
“Stop the f*****g car,” one of the officers yells.
The officers repeatedly tell Moses “don’t do it,” as he starts to drive off again. As his car continues to move, the officers open fire, striking the vehicle. The video then ends as Moses’ car crashes into a fence.
In their initial press release, New Castle police said the officers rendered first aid to Moses and were later helped by other emergency personnel.
Moses was declared dead at the scene.
The police had initially said that Moses drove directly at the officers “at a high rate of speed,” causing them to shoot. During a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Moses’ wife, two sisters and a family attorney said the newly released video refuted that.
“They were not in harm’s way,” attorney Emeka Igwe said. “And that refutes them opening fire. When it shows that Lymond was not facing any officer directly, that he was swerving around them and that they just decided to open fire through his windows as he went through them, they weren’t in harm’s way. And then they got behind the vehicle and they were still shooting.”
Igwe also said the responding officers were out of their jurisdiction and violated Moses’ constitutional rights by “illegally opening up the doors of his vehicle.”
“In the wake of George Floyd we’re in a different time where officers have to be held accountable,” Igwe said. “We’re not against all law enforcement. We appreciate law enforcement. Many of the officers out here are good examples of law enforcement. But what occurred to Lymond Moses by these rogue police officers must be accounted for. And they must be held accountable.”
Moses’ family called for the officers to be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office, for them to be fired and for their names to be released. They also called on President Joe Biden, who was raised in New Castle, Delaware, to become involved in the investigation if the officers aren’t prosecuted.
“I’m pleading and calling on Joe Biden to please hear my calls and answer and help us get the justice for Lymond Moses that we need,” Amanda Spence, Moses’ wife, said. “Please Joe Biden, come together for your hometown and help us get justice. Please!”
Igwe also demanded that New Castle County Police release additional footage showing what led to the officers approaching Moses.
“That video is redacted. There’s audio that shows the whole interaction from the very beginning,” Igwe said. “I couldn’t help but notice that the audio of the officers when they first approach the vehicle is missing. And that video exists. So we’re asking New Castle County Police to not put out a propaganda video. Release the whole video, unedited, without your commentary, that has all the audio from beginning to end.”
Officials have not yet identified the officers involved, who include a 10-year veteran and a 3-year veteran. They were both placed on administrative leave in January.
“Conclusions about whether the actions of the officers are consistent with departmental policy and the law will not be made until all facts are known and the investigation is complete,” New Castle County Police Lt. Brian Faulkner said.
Faulkner said they will continue to investigate and analyze the incident over the next few months.
“When the investigation is completed, it will be forwarded to the Chief of Police and the Attorney General for the State of Delaware who will determine if the officers’ actions and use of deadly force met the high standards expected of a New Castle County Police Officer,” he said. “It will ultimately determine if that use of force was within the bounds of law.”
Jonathon Yard, the President of the Delaware Lodge #5 Fraternal Order of Police, also released a statement Tuesday, criticizing the decision to release the body camera footage.
“For the most recent New Castle County Police shooting involving two of our members, despite the ongoing legal review by the Attorney General’s Office, video evidence was present and was made available to the family in an effort to be transparent,” Yard wrote.
“Now County Executive Matt Meyer, against the advice of his Chief of Police, Vaughn Bond, has chosen to release this video making it available to the general public. While transparency and public trust are essential between the police department and citizens we serve, choosing to release this video now undermines the credibility of any future legal proceedings that may arise from this incident.”
A spokesperson for the Delaware Attorney General’s Office explained the decision to release the video, saying they wanted to “maximize transparency” within their “ethical boundaries as a prosecuting agency.”
“Our unique responsibilities typically preclude us from releasing camera footage until an investigation is complete,” the spokesperson wrote. “We respect the County Executive’s decision. We will work to ensure this public release of evidence will not impact the integrity of the Division of Civil Rights & Public Trust’s investigation.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the New Castle County Division of Police Criminal Investigations Unit at 302-395-8110 or the New Castle County Division of Police non-emergency number at 302-573-2800.