Video of fatal Tennessee traffic stop shows car speeding off but not deputy’s shooting of driver
Aug 24, 2023, 3:26 PM | Updated: 4:06 pm
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Videos released Thursday of a Tennessee traffic stop that ended in a fatal shooting shows a deputy holding on to the car’s steering wheel and being carried away as the vehicle speeds off, but does not show the moment when the deputy shot the driver.
Jarveon Hudspeth, 21, was shot and killed June 24 by a Shelby County Sheriff’s Office deputy after the deputy approached his car and tried to stop it from leaving the scene, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
The situation escalated and Hudspeth drove off and “dragged” the deputy about 100 yards (91 meters), the bureau said in a statement, and at some point the deputy fired his gun at least once and hit the driver. The car stopped about a half-mile later (nearly a kilometer).
The videos released by the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office are from the deputy’s in-car and body-worn cameras, and a neighbor’s doorbell camera.
The body camera video shows the deputy stopping a white two-door car in a residential neighborhood and walking up to the vehicle. The deputy asks Hudspeth for his license, and he hands it over. The deputy tells Hudspeth to get out of the car, which he does, and then checks his pockets.
The deputy says he is going to search the car, and Hudspeth returns to sit in the driver’s seat. Hudspeth then hits the accelerator, and the deputy grabs onto the steering wheel. Hudspeth appears to try to push the deputy away with his leg.
The body camera video ends with it being jostled and a view of the sky and a tree. The sound of a car driving away is heard.
The dashboard camera shows the deputy climbing into the driver’s side of the car and being carried away as Hudspeth drives off with the car door open. The doorbell camera only shows the car driving past.
None of the videos show the officer being dragged or the shooting itself. The reason for the traffic stop was not immediately clear from the footage, and authorities have not provided a reason either.
Hudspeth’s family, their lawyer Ben Crump and activists had been pushing for release of the video. Hudspeth’s family has seen it, the district attorney’s office said.
In a statement, Crump said the deputy put himself “into harm’s way” by climbing into the car.
“To this day — more than 60 days later — we do not know the initial reason for this deadly stop,” he said.
Hudspeth died on the way to the hospital, and the deputy was hospitalized with serious injuries, officials said. The deputy’s name has not been released, and the bureau has not released any more details as it investigates.
Thursday’s public disclosure is part of a new practice announced this week by the district attorney’s office to release videos of fatal shootings involving law enforcement “in a timely manner” to increase transparency, District Attorney Steve Mulroy said in a statement.
“In the past, video has not been released until the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has completed its investigation,” Mulroy said. “Our goal is to speed up that process by showing video as soon as possible when we are sure that it won’t compromise the investigation.”
The bureau will give its findings from the investigation to Mulroy, who will decide whether to pursue charges against the deputy.
Mulroy said Thursday that he could not comment on the investigation. Earlier this week he said the video speaks for itself, but he didn’t think the use of the word “dragged” was an accurate description.