The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Police release partial body-cam footage from aftermath of Black man’s fatal shooting by off-duty White officer

Body-cam footage from officers shows the aftermath of the shooting of Jason Walker by off-duty Deputy Sheriff Jeffrey Hash in Fayetteville, N.C., on Jan. 8. (Video: Fayetteville Police Department/The Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

North Carolina officials on Friday released part of the body-camera video recorded after the shooting death of a Black man who was killed by a White off-duty sheriff’s deputy.

Cumberland County Deputy Sheriff Jeffrey Hash shot and killed 37-year-old Jason Walker last Saturday, sparking calls for transparency while authorities investigate the case and as the nation continues examining its law enforcement practices among long-marginalized communities.

The Fayetteville Police Department sought to answer some of the demands for clarity by releasing about four minutes of 20 hours of video, the department said in a news release.

The department said the footage is among the first videos the department submitted to a judge and noted that it has filed a petition to release all body-camera footage related to the incident.

Earlier this past week, Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins told reporters that black-box data from Hash’s truck, which logs speed, braking and impact, didn’t record any impact, casting doubt for some about Hash’s account of what happened and his use of force. Hash claims that Walker jumped on his vehicle and broke his windshield wiper before the off-duty officer shot him, according to recordings of his 911 call and a video shared across social media.

The newly released clips show an unnamed man identifying himself as Walker’s father telling responding officers a story similar to Hash’s account. The father told an officer that Walker had left his yard and entered the street but that he was trying to call his son back over.

“He was out here in the daggum street and the fella pulled up,” he said. “He jumped up on the guy’s hood, and he jumped out of his car and shot him.”

The man claiming to be Walker’s father pointed to the front of Hash’s red truck and told the officer that he could see where Walker had been near the windshield by looking at one of the broken wipers. Walker had no mental health issues, according to his father.

Elizabeth Ricks, a trauma nurse and witness on the scene who tried to help Walker before emergency services arrived, gave officers a statement of what she saw, appearing visibly shaken and with Walker’s blood on her hands as she spoke, video showed.

Ricks was leaning over Walker’s body, compressing his wounds as she and others on the scene waited for emergency responders to arrive.

At one point in speaking with the officer, Ricks asked if Walker had a pulse.

Walker was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ricks told the officer that she was unsure about whether Walker got on the truck or whether he had been hit but that she saw Hash start shooting while still in the truck with his family.

“I didn’t see him pose a threat,” she said of Walker.

She also said, “It’s like he [Hash] hit him [Walker] and then got out and just shot him.”

Ricks declined to comment about the recently released videos when contacted by The Washington Post.

Parrish Daughtry, an attorney representing Hash, said Saturday that Hash is “devastated” for the Walker family, his community and his family. She said North Carolina statutes prevent her from discussing the facts of an ongoing investigation, but she did say that state self-defense laws are involved in the matter.

Daughtry cited one law regarding defending one’s home, workplace or vehicle in the face of death or serious bodily harm and another about the justification for use of force in protection of self or others, removing criminal liability.

Hash has not been charged and the case has been assigned to the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, an independent prosecutorial agency with statewide jurisdiction, to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest, Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West told reporters.

The Walker family has retained civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who said in a Tuesday statement that there was reason to believe that the case was one in which the officer shot first and asked questions later.

Crump didn’t respond to a request Saturday for comment.

At a Thursday news conference, Crump said the family is asking for the truth about what happened to the single father who left behind a 14-year-old son.

“There are a lot of reasons why Black children have to grow up without their fathers, but this reason is unacceptable,” he said. “His father was shot unfairly, unjustifiably and unconstitutionally by somebody who’s supposed to protect and serve him.”

Read more:

A White off-duty deputy says he shot a Black man who jumped on his truck. Protesters cry foul.

Teen died in mother’s arms after police bullet pierced store dressing room, family says