The police-involved shooting of an unarmed black teenaged male in Tempe, Arizona, on July 28, has prompted calls for an independent investigation from area activists and his family. New details of the incident that killed 19-year-old Dalvin Hollins reveal striking similarities to a shooting case in Chicago.
New York Daily News columnist Shaun King tweeted Monday that he had confirmed Hollins was shot in the back. Tempe police Lt. Edward Ouimette, who officials named as the shooter weeks ago, had been in pursuit of a robbery suspect when he encountered Hollins, the KNXV-TV reported.
Ouimette, a 19-year veteran of the force, did not have his body-cam on at the moment he chased Hollins and shot him. The NYDN's King also tweeted that Ouimette only turned the camera on after he shot Hollins. The 52-year-old police lieutenant told officials that he believed Hollins was armed and had pointed what he thought was a gun, according to KNXV-TV.
Hollins was found unresponsive and unarmed in the maintenance shed of a senior center, where emergency medical personnel pronounced him dead. Police had identified Hollins as the suspect in a pharmacy robbery, during which the suspect gestured as if he had a weapon.
Frederick Franklin, Hollins' stepfather, told KNXV-TV that his stepson suffered from possible bipolar disorder. Hollins fell through the cracks of Arizona's mental health system, which failed to help him when he struggled in school during his early teens, Franklin said.
That's partly why the family and a local civil rights activist have called for an independent investigation into why Ouimette was not using his body-cam at the time of the shooting. Video footage from fatal police shootings have increasingly been crucial in determining misconduct among officers.
In Chicago, two police officers were at least temporarily relieved of street duty following the July 28 fatal shooting of another unarmed black teenager. The officers' body-worn camera footage showed they may have violated a use-of-force policy that prohibits shooting at a suspect's fleeing vehicle.