Police in Farmington, Utah, released body camera footage Wednesday that captured the barrage of gunfire which killed a 25-year-old man during a traffic stop last week.
Chase Allan was pulled over by Farmington police on March 1 at around 3:20 p.m. near a post office after an officer spotted an illegal license plate — a placard with a flag — on Allan’s blue BMW, Farmington police Chief Eric Johnsen said during a press conference Wednesday.
During the press conference, Johnsen told reporters that officers started to shoot after they saw Allan reach down, but also said that it is unclear exactly what happened in those brief seconds, because the body camera’s view is unclear.
The footage — a compilation video of five body-worn police cameras and a single dashboard camera — shows a police car following Allan’s BMW into a parking lot. The officer parks behind Allan’s car, walks over to it and taps on the driver’s window. Allan cracks open the window while holding a cellphone.
“The reason you were stopped today is there is no registration on your vehicle,” the officer tells Allan in the video.
“I don’t need registration and I don’t answer questions,” Allan replies.
“Alrighty,” the officer says, and then proceeds to call backup.
The officer and Allan go back and forth about why he was pulled over, before the officer tells Allan he is “detained and not free to leave.” He then continues to ask for identification. Allan can be heard citing what he claims are legal arguments for his refusal to provide one.
“I understand what you are saying,” the officer replies. “But you are lawfully required to identify yourself.”
More arguing ensues before Allan hands the officer a passport. The officer then orders Allan to step out of the vehicle. At this point, video shows other officers have arrived at the scene.
Allan is seen refusing to step out of the car. He is still wearing his seatbelt and holding his cellphone.
“I am not required to,” Allan tells police.
The bodycam footage then stops and highlights what police allege is a “holster on Mr. Allan’s hip.” The holster is “flexing upward,” as seen through the driver’s window, police said.
Allan, who is wearing a khaki coat and a trucker hat, still refuses to step out when another officer warns him that if he doesn’t comply, “we’re going to break the window and pull you out.”
Allan is then seen transferring his cellphone from his left hand to his right hand as an officer opens the driver’s door. The police video then stops to highlight what it claims is Allan’s right hand moving toward the holster.
As another officer wearing a beanie leans into the front seat and tries to get Allan, one of the officers yells “gun! gun! gun!”
The police officer slams the door shut and five officers are seeing drawing their guns and rapidly firing several rounds at the BMW. An officer then yells “cease fire,” and the shooting stops.
The officers pull Allan’s body out of the car. The footage again stops to highlight an “empty” holster on his hip. The video then shows a gun on the floor partially visible under the mat of the driver’s seat.
The five officers involved in the shooting have not been identified.
“I feel like they deserve privacy right now,” Johnsen said Wednesday.
Allan’s family has accused the police of “brutal murder,” saying they have been “stonewalled” by the department, according to a statement released to local media last week. Allan’s family said he was “studying law the last few years and was a patriot doing what he could to defend the people’s freedom and liberty in his community,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Four of the five officers have been with Farmington police for between seven and eight months, and the fifth officer is a 12-year veteran of the department, Johnsen said. The status of the officers was not clear, but Johnsen said he was down 20% of his force and thanked other police departments from helping with daily operations.
Allan’s family has said the officer who pulled him over “requested multiple other officers to the scene a couple of blocks prior to the stop,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune. At the press conference, Johnsen disputed the family’s statement.
“I want to point out there has been a statement, an allegation made that back-up was called for prior to this, that is absolutely untrue,” the police said.
“It’s a tragic ending to what started out as an everyday traffic stop,” Johnsen said.
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