Houston mayor to release police shooting video footage

HOUSTON (AP) — Officials in Houston are scheduled to release video footage Thursday from a police shooting in which officers killed a black man earlier this month.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said this week the release is part of an effort to preserve community safety in the wake of recent shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Turner and acting Houston Police Chief Martha Montalvo plan to release body camera footage and surveillance video during a Thursday news conference.

Calling the atmosphere in the country “unsettled” and “tense” after a series of shootings targeting officers, Turner said Wednesday he wants to dispute claims on social media that Alva Braziel, 38, didn’t have a gun when he was shot July 9. Turner said he will release the body camera footage and surveillance video Thursday, after waiting a day to give Braziel’s family a chance to see the footage first.

Surveillance video from a gas station near the shooting scene has circulated on social media, with some people suggesting the footage shows Braziel had his hands up before he was shot and wasn’t armed. The video is dark, and it’s hard to see clearly what Braziel might have had in his hand and what happened in the moments before officers fired.

“I don’t want another police officer being shot at or killed based on that false narrative, not in this city,” Turner said.

Davis Haines, an attorney for Braziel’s family, didn’t immediately return a call Thursday for comment.

Community activists and civil rights groups have called on the city to release all video footage from the shooting, and many of the groups have been critical of the Houston Police Department’s history of deeming nearly every police shooting justified in the past 11 years.

Turner said under state law, such video is usually not released until after both criminal and administrative investigations are completed. Houston police and the Harris County district attorney’s office are investigating the shooting.