Eight months after an officer-involved shooting, which left a Jackson County, Michigan man badly injured, the body camera footage of the incident has been released. In mid-October, the parents of a reportedly mentally-ill man approached police claiming their son was becoming increasingly paranoid and requested the Jackson County Sheriff’s department’s help.
Officers were told by the parents their son (whose name is being withheld since he was not charged with any crime) had been increasingly unstable, had made comments related to ongoing paranoia, and that he might possess a weapon. The parents also claimed their adult son was hoping to die in a death by cop type of shootout.
Instead of deploying a mental health crisis team of specially trained officers, it appears the department sent over their regularly trained officers. On October 15th, officers responded to the parents’ request by dispatching Deputy Bradley Reed.
The news organization MLive used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain the body camera footage of the incident. Having received a heavily redacted video, the organization requested another unredacted copy of the video. With the two videos in hand, MLive was able to splice the two videos together to get the full version of events.
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Reed, who can be heard calling for the suspect to exit the home, later hears what he believed to be shots being fired. It wasn’t gunfire. Instead, it was glass being broken. Reed radioed in that he believed shots had been fired in his direction.
The camera then focuses in on a clump of trees with Reed shouting commands to the man. Almost immediately following the commands, Reed fired two rounds into the clump of trees. Hunters are traditionally trained not to fire into vegetation without first confirming their target is an animal and not a human. From the limited perspective of the body camera footage, it is unclear how Reed determined the suspect was armed as the dense vegetation appears to completely disguise the man who reportedly told Reed before he was shot that he had his hands up.
After Reed’s shots were fired, the man told Reed he was shot in the buttocks and believed the shot may have gotten his artery. Reed calmly walked back to the cruisers where backup officers had arrived. He stated he needed a first-aid kit and then proceeded to go toward his own cruiser where he was told to “load up” (or get inside his car) and wait for the investigation to ensue.
Following a three-month investigation, it was recommended Reed face disciplinary charges for not following departmental procedures in the shooting which could have killed the mentally-ill man who may also have been under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the shooting.
Instead of being disciplined, Reed chose to resign in January of this year. It is also unclear if Reed has since joined another police department. Many times, when officers are involved in disciplinary proceedings in one department, they will resign, instead of being terminated, and join another department to keep their career alive and well. We at TFTP have chosen to use the term “gypsy cops” to identify such individuals who go from department to department getting into trouble, and risking individual’s lives in the process. These cops often go on to get into other officer-involved shootings, a phenomenon which TFTP has reported on numerous occasions.