Outtakes—Not Business As Usual
We now know how Tymar Crawford died. Inweekly writer Scott Satterwhite described in this issue what he saw after he watched the videos countless times over the weekend. He wanted to depict the footage as accurately as possible.
Detective Daniel Siemen’s dashboard camera footage showed Crawford turning off his vehicle and stepping out of the car with his hands raised. Detective Siemen appeared to shove the man’s head against the doorframe of his vehicle. Crawford turned back toward the officer and pushed Siemen’s hands away. Siemen then appeared to punch Crawford as a scuffle ensued.
In his bodycam video, Officer Noah Dufour tased Crawford as he was pulled from the vehicle. Crawford grabbed the taser and held it with two hands. Dufour yelled that Crawford had his taser. Crawford pleaded, “Man. Listen, man.”
Less than a second later, Detective Siemen fired his first shot. Crawford screamed. Then there was a second shot, followed by five consecutive gunshots. Crawford immediately fell to the ground. Blood spread across his white shirt. An officer rolled over Crawford and handcuffed him. One of the officers could be heard asking Crawford, “Hey, bro. Still with us? Still with us?”
Crawford possibly nodded his head, but his eyes remained closed with his tongue hanging out his mouth. Dufour tried to figure out which bullet hole to cover. As he placed a towel on Crawford’s bleeding chest, he said, “Come on, man. Stay with us.” Crawford never responded.
A grand jury last week returned a No True Bill, meaning that the jurors determined that criminal charges were not appropriate. However, the Pensacola Police Department found Detective Sieman had violated its use of deadly forces policies and terminated his employment with the city three weeks before the grand jury convened.
Mayor Grover Robinson and PPD made it clear they wouldn’t shy away from dealing with the incident. At his Monday press conference, Mayor Robinson said, “After seeing the video, the Pensacola Police Department did the right thing with the termination of the officer involved.”
While we would have liked to have seen the police footage released much sooner, we’re pleased that the city didn’t return to business as usual as it did when Victor Steen was run over by a cop in 2009. Ten years ago, the teen on a bike was pursued by a cop who tried to fire a taser at him from a moving patrol car. The chase ended when Steen was crushed by the cruiser. The officer wasn’t terminated. A few policies were changed but little else happened.
The Robinson administration was much more proactive. The question is what other lessons have been learned to avoid a repeat of this avoidable death.