(CNN) — A Shreveport, Louisiana, police officer was arrested Thursday on a charge of negligent homicide in the fatal shooting earlier this month of Alonzo Bagley, an unarmed Black man, Louisiana State Police said.
Officer Alexander Tyler made his initial appearance in court, where a Louisiana State Police investigator told the judge that body camera footage shows that Bagley’s hands were up in the split second after the shot is fired. Investigators said no weapon was found on Bagley.
The officer acknowledged in court that the view from the body camera is obstructed by the way the officer is turned the moment the shot is fired.
Bagley, 43, was killed February 3 after officers responded to a domestic disturbance call at an apartment complex, according to police. When police arrived, Bagley jumped down from an apartment balcony and fled, and after a brief foot chase one officer fatally shot Bagley — who was later found to be unarmed, state police said.
Tyler’s attorney, Dhu Thompson, said he hopes the bodycam footage is reviewed “thoroughly and a decision is made based on facts and evidence.”
“Officers are always faced on a day-to-day basis with dangerous situations like that and at times where they have to make split-second decisions where they’re in a potential life-threatening situation,” Thompson said.
“The mere fact that an argument is being made by the investigator in court that he was unarmed does not necessarily mean that he is not a threat to the officer.”
Bagley’s family was shown the police video of the shooting Thursday morning, according to one of their attorneys. The state police then released what they said were the videos from each of the two officers’ body-worn cameras: one from Tyler and one from an unnamed officer.
The body camera video from the unnamed officer begins when the officers enter the apartment building, walk up stairs and knock, at which point Bagley opens the front door. The officers ask him to step out of his house and Bagley refuses.
The officers then follow Bagley into the house as he says he’s going to put the dogs away. Officers tell him to let someone else in the home do it and continue following him into a room, where he exits onto an outdoor balcony and jumps over the railing, landing on the ground below. The officer goes back through the apartment and then exits the building in pursuit of Bagley, running on foot.
The pursuit lasts about a minute. According to the state police statement on Thursday, it was Tyler who then comes upon Bagley.
A shot is heard as Bagley is shot in the chest. He slowly falls to the ground and says, “Oh no! Oh, God, you shot me.”
According to state police, Tyler “inadvertently” turned off his camera and then turned it back on “within one second” after he fired the shot that killed Bagley.
After Tyler fired the shot, his body-cam video shows Tyler walking back over to Bagley, gun in hand. The other officer turns Bagley on his back as he begins first aid and calls for EMS.
Tyler is audibly distraught, saying, “Come on, dude,” and “Stay with me,” as the other officer performs chest compressions. The other officer is heard telling Tyler to go to the front of the building, which he does as first responders arrive.
Xavier Sudds, Bagley’s brother, told CNN what he saw on the police video less than an hour after watching it for the first time.
Sudds said his brother’s “hands were up” at the time of the shooting — though it is difficult to tell from the video released Thursday. “He was not threatening in any kind of way,” Sudds said of his brother.
Watching the video, he was at first confused, then angry, Sudds told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“That’s just from not understanding… why did a domestic call turn deadly?” Sudds said. “I think at this point, the only thing I’m wondering is just, you know, the procedure, the procedure. Why did it happen like it happened?”
The state police investigator told the court Thursday that Tyler had his weapon out during the chase, while the other officer holstered his weapon when Bagley jumped from the balcony.
Shreveport Mayor Tom Arceneaux, who opened a Thursday afternoon news conference with a prayer, expressed his regret for not contacting Bagley’s family in the days after the shooting and said he had learned from the experience.
“It was hard for me to watch,” the mayor said of the video of the shooting. “And I’m sure it was excruciating for the family to watch. It is heartbreaking for the family and all concerned. This is the kind of experience I hope no one has to endure.”
Arceneaux added, “Now is the time for all of us to begin the healing process. We should surround the family with our love, support and prayers.”
Shreveport Police Chief Wayne Smith said the relatively new officer’s disciplinary history “had not reached the level where early warning systems” would have brought him to the attention of superiors. Policy violations involving Tyler included one for violence against a suspect, the chief said at the news conference, which was also attended by members of the city council.
‘Flight is not a death sentence’
Earlier Thursday, Ronald Haley, an attorney for the family, held a news conference with community activists and Bagley family members. Haley praised the rapid arrest of the officer and the release of the video.
Haley said Tyler had 66 seconds after Bagley fled to take non-lethal action.
“A short flight takes place but flight is not a death sentence,” Haley said. “Flight does not mean shoot to kill. Flight does not mean judge, jury and executioner and that’s what happened here.”
Sudds told reporters, “I want Alonzo’s death to mean something at the end of the day. And I know that it will happen and I appreciate everybody’s condolences and prayers but none of that compares to the pain that I’m feeling, the pain that my mom is feeling… That’s going to linger for a while, for a long time.”
Haley highlighted the Louisiana State Police’s swift action in the case and the importance of the body camera footage on CNN’s AC360°.
“If we don’t have this body camera footage, we just have this officer’s word. And we likely do not have an arrest today and this family would be burying their loved one with the cloud of uncertainty,” he said.
Police chief urges community to remain calm
After the shooting, Smith said his “heart bled” and the department will “do our very best to make sure that it doesn’t occur again.” He urged the community to “remain patient.”
Bagley’s shooting death occurred about a month after the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, by Memphis officers during a traffic stop that reignited a national conversation about police use of force against people of color, particularly Black Americans.
Bagley had previously sued the police department, alleging excessive force, according to a lawsuit obtained by CNN.
Tyler, on the force since May 2021, was on paid administrative leave as state police investigated the incident, which included reviewing the officer’s body worn camera.
His arrest was based on the findings of the investigators and coordinated with the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office, according to a police statement.
Tyler’s bond was set at $25,000; his next court date is April 3. Before the arrest, Tyler declined to comment to CNN about the incident.
Bagley’s funeral will be Saturday.
Bagley filed lawsuit against police after 2018 arrest
Documents show Bagley had a previous run-in with Shreveport police, years before he was killed.
Twelve months after Shreveport police allegedly assaulted Bagley during an arrest in January 2018, he filed a federal lawsuit against the department.
Bagley required “treatment of a broken occipital orbital eye-socket bones, contusions to the head and face, and a number of his front upper teeth knocked out,” the suit says.
During the 2018 incident, officers responded to a domestic dispute between Alonzo and his wife, the complaint states.
Bagley was put into handcuffs that “were placed too tightly” on him and he “maneuvered his hands to the front of his body due to the pain and discomfort of being handcuffed behind his back in the back passenger portion of an SPD (Shreveport Police Department) patrol car,” the suit said.
According to the court filing, Bagley “was not attempting and did not attempt to escape but only rearranged himself out of the painful position he was in.”
One police officer then opened the door and “delivered forceful and several close-fisted strikes to the head and face” and a second officer did not stop the assault, the suit says. Bagley was handcuffed the entire time and offered no resistance, the lawsuit says.
In response to the complaint, the city said that one of its officers did open the door of the patrol car, but was assisting Bagley because he was “attempting to strangle or choke himself with the seatbelt.”
The city went on to say the officer did strike Bagley’s “head and facial area when Plaintiff (Bagley) covered his head with his arms and prevented Officer Kolb from removing the seatbelt and removing Plaintiff from the vehicle.”
It is unclear what the resolution was on the lawsuit.
An attorney who represented Bagley in the case did not return calls from CNN seeking comment.
Bagley was charged with domestic abuse battery and resisting an officer related to the incident. The domestic abuse charge was dismissed, and he pleaded guilty in February 2018 to the charge of resisting an officer, according to court records.
CNN has requested comment from the police department and filed an open records request with the city to find out more about the 2018 incident.
Tyler was not with the department when the 2018 incident occurred.
Bagley’s family has sued Tyler, seeking more than $10 million in damages, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court. The lawsuit alleges that the office violated Alonzo Bagley’s Fourth Amendment rights.
Louisiana State Police said the case is still under investigation.
Asked for his response to the charge of negligent homicide against Tyler, Bagley’s brother said: “My immediate response is, ‘OK, that’s fine,’ but it doesn’t stop there. It can’t stop there. We have to make sure that my brother’s death is not in vain. We have to make sure have transparency, to make sure that we have justice.”
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