Body camera footage of a fatal shooting in Texas was released by the Palestine Police Department this week, exonerating the officer who pulled the trigger.
The incident, which occurred on May 31, surrounded 47-year-old James Bushey, a man accused of attempting to steal alcohol from a nearby Walmart.
Bushey was confronted in the bathroom of an Applebee’s by Sergeant Gabriel Green and Officer Kaylyn Griffin that evening and ordered outside for questioning.
“You’re a suspect in reference to a theft case. I need you to step out please,” Sergeant Green says. “Don’t act dumb for me. Come on and step out. Okay? You’re on video.”
Once outside, Officer Griffin continued the investigation by asking Bushey for his identification.
Suddenly, Bushey responded by pulling a pistol from his waist and aiming it at Officer Griffin.
“Gun! Gun! Gun!” Officer Griffin screams.
After struggling with the officers, Bushey turned towards the pair once more and aimed his pistol, causing Sergeant Green to unleash a barrage of bullets.
Palestine Police Captain James Muniz, who called the incident “very unfortunate,” praised both the officers for their vigilance and the role of the body camera.
“[It’s important] to have a real personal look at exactly what an officer sees in real time and how quick things happen,” Captain Muniz said.
After a full investigation, the department revealed that the handgun had actually been a pellet gun, a moot point given the suspect’s outrageous behavior.
“Officers learned later the gun Bushey pointed at them was an air gun made to look like a Colt 1911 .45 caliber handgun,” notes the Palestine Herald.
The situation highlights the importance of body cameras in not only uncovering police corruption, but in vindicating officers as well.
Both Officer Griffin and Sergeant Green have returned to duty since being placed on paid administrative leave.