Officials in Houston released video Thursday from a police shooting earlier in the month showing that the man who was killed was holding a gun, contrary to claims from critics that he was unarmed.
Mayor Sylvester Turner said the release was part of an effort to preserve community safety in the wake of recent shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The Houston Police Department said two officers were on patrol on July 9 when they spotted the man, identified by his wife as Alva Braziel, standing in the middle of the street armed with a revolver. Friends told the Houston Chronicle that Braziel was searching for a stolen horse.
“What’s important to me is to make sure that the public gets the information – for them to be able to see it… to see in this particular incident that Mr. Braziel did have a gun,” he told reporters Thursday afternoon. “Quite frankly I don’t want any police officers shot at or killed.”
A Houston Police Department spokeswoman said Braziel, 38, was shot when he raised his weapon and pointed it at the sky, but then pointed it in the direction of the officers.
Body camera video released by Turner and acting Houston Police Chief Martha Montalvo shows Braziel lying motionless on the pavement after being shot multiple times. An officer then approaches Braziel and removes a pistol from the man's right hand.
The body camera videos started after the shooting occurred, though nearby surveillance video captured the shooting.
“What was being put out online – that Mr. Braziel had his arms up and was unarmed and then was shot by police – that narrative is untrue,” Turner said.
Turner released the body camera footage and surveillance video Thursday after waiting a day to give Braziel's family a chance to see the footage first.
“This morning, Mrs. Braziel had an opportunity to see as much of the videos that she wanted to see,” Turner said. “I think she saw some, but elected not to see all of it.”
Davis Haines, an attorney for Braziel's family, didn't immediately return a call from The Associated Press Thursday for comment.
Community activists and civil rights groups have called on the city to release all video footage from the shooting, and many of the groups have been critical of the Houston Police Department's history of deeming nearly every police shooting justified in the past 11 years.
Turner said under state law, such video is usually not released until after both criminal and administrative investigations are completed. Houston police and the Harris County district attorney's office are investigating the shooting.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.