The Milwaukee Police Department has released video of an officer-involved shooting that happened in August and is still under investigation.
The video shows the fatal shooting of 48-year-old Mario Hobson by two officers after Hobson held a gun to his head and threatened to kill himself during a traffic stop.
According to the Journal Sentinel, the incident began on the afternoon of August 13, when police officers pulled over a vehicle with Hobson on the passenger side.
After the driver stopped and exited the car, Hobson climbed behind the wheel and drove away at a high speed, running into and knocking down an officer as he fled.
Because the chase took place in a densely populated residential neighborhood, police could not catch up with the suspect. Hobson was able to elude the pursuing officers, and eventually the chase was terminated.
Police said Hobson had outstanding warrants for domestic violence and a probation violation, and his family confirmed he was “on the run,” according to WISN.
The Fatal Encounter
Around 5 p.m. that same day, officers spotted an SUV with Mario Hobson sitting in the back seat.
Police walked towards the vehicle and spoke with the driver and front-seat passenger, eventually ordering them out of the car.
Another officer approached the car from behind and opened the rear driver’s side door. When he did, Hobson stepped out, holding a gun to his head.
Officers backed away while shouting to Hobson that he should drop the gun. On the video, officers can be heard calling Hobson by name, shouting “Mario, Mario, drop the gun!”
When Hobson did not let go of the gun and turned toward the officers, two officers fired a total of six shots, killing Hobson.
“An individual armed with a firearm is extremely dangerous because he can start shooting at any moment in any direction,” explained Milwaukee Police Captain Joseph McLin, head of the Homicide Unit, according to the Journal Sentinel.
“The suspect’s actions showed disregard for the officers’ lawful orders and forced the situation to its conclusion.”
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales held a press conference on Nov. 1 explaining why the police were releasing the video.
He began by pointing out that the incident was still under investigation, and the release of the video was meant to provide transparency to the public and was not intended to upset the family of Mario Hobson, nor the officers involved in the shooting.
“This was not an easy decision. This video was not created to embarrass or upset the members of the deceased’s family or the officers involved but because I am committed to improving community relations,” Morales said at the press conference.
Chief Morales said that he had been meeting with community leaders for the past eight months to try to implement standards and practices that protected the rights of all parties, while still keeping the public informed about important incidents affecting the community’s view of the police force.
“I am pleased to say that although we have a long way to go, we are making progress,” Morales said.
The 4-minute, 54-second video clip released by the police department shows only the first traffic stop, some of the chase, and the shooting itself. Chief Morales explained that no more could be released until the investigation was complete.
Morales said the department had set a goal of releasing whatever portions of body camera videos were relevant to particular incidents within 45 days of that incident, whenever possible.
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