The family of Donnell Rochester, a gay teenager in Baltimore, is demanding answers from the city’s police as to what exactly happened on February 19 when officers shot and killed Rochester while serving a warrant.
Last weekend, Rochester’s family and friends held a protest over his death and the following investigation.
Baltimore police have said that the officers involved have been put on paid leave, according to local TV station WBAL. Authorities said the officers stopped Rochester due to a warrant against him connected to an alleged arm carjacking.
The station reports that in a police body-camera video, the police are seen leaving their cars and walking toward Rochester’s car. One officer went in front of the car. They said that Rochester drove forward at the officer and that’s when they fired shots.
“Where are you hit at?” one officer says in the video, reports ABC News. The officer repeats the question as the other officers try to find the wound.
Rochester has trouble responding to the officer.
“Are you OK?” another officer asks.
“No,” Rochester seems to say.
His family disputes the claims made by the officers. They said they haven’t heard anything about the investigation since February. Rochester’s aunt, Markia Jackson, told the outlet that she saw the video and her nephew didn’t try to drive toward the officer.
“He was not trying to hit anyone. That officer tried to place himself in front of that car,” Jackson said. She added that the police didn’t take Rochester to the hospital right after they shot him.
“Donnell is still supposed to be here, probably just recuperating. They let him bleed out on that ground, telling him to 'just breathe, bro, breathe, bro.' How can you say that when he's on the ground scared for his life? she said.
Jackson said the video shows how scared Rochester was.
“I'm angry. I'm frustrated. I'm sad because Donnell was just so full of life, and for him to no longer be here is truly, truly depressing for me. It's truly depressing for me, it is,” she said.