The Evansville Police Department released body camera footage on Friday, September 1st of Evansville cops shooting and killing Daniel Wooters, 38.
The footage is from March 15, 2016, when Wooters stole a police cruiser, was chased by police and eventually shot to death after stopping and getting out of the vehicle.
According to the Sgt. Jason Cullum, Wooters got out of the car and advanced toward the officers with a knife. But the body cam footage, released six months after the incident, clearly shows that Wooters posed no threat to the officers.
In the video, Wooters exits the vehicle and immediately puts his hands in the air, signaling surrender. He then puts his arms down and takes two steps in the direction of the officers, who appear in the video to be about thirty feet away. He then stops when prompted to stop and points at the officers. The police claim that he has a knife in his hand at this time, but it is impossible to tell from the video. The officers then open fire on Wooters.
âThe Evansville Police Departmentâs claims that Wooters posed a threat to them and that he âadvancedâ toward them are highly questionable. In the video, Wooters appears to be standing about thirty feet away, and itâs hard to see how he could pose a threat to an army of police with their guns drawn. Additionally, the video clearly shows that Wooters is not âadvancingâ towards the officers at the time that he is gunned down.
Because Wooters had a knife in his hand, local media headlines reported the incident as the police shooting of an âarmedâ man, ignoring the important difference between a suspect with a gun and one with a knife, especially when shot from a distance.
This is the second time in just two days that body camera footage has been released showing Evansville Police using excessive force. The first shows officers dragging Michael Flemming from his car as he attempts to film them during a traffic stop.
The Evansville Courier and Press, playing its usual role as voice of those in power, released an article the day after the March shooting titled "EPD: Officer-involved shooting suspect threatened to 'kill some cops.'â According to the article, âWitnesses told police that Wooters acted aggressively and threatened to kill âsome cops,â according to a news release.â These âthreats,â stated before any police were even involved in the situation, hold no bearing whatsoever on the real content of the story. But reporting on them does serve the purpose of painting Wooters as a dangerous criminal, his life as disposable and his death as justified.
The officers who murdered Daniel Wooter are Jason Thomas, Zach Elfreich and Dexter Wolf.
If you are a friend or family member of Daniel Wooters or if you witnessed anything important that happened that night and would like to share more information about this incident, please contact us at Evansville@riseup.net.