Friday, August 20, 2021

Home surveillance video shows MPD officer turn camera away after police enter wrong home

From TMJ4:

“My first thought was, I don’t want to get shot. I’m trying to not get shot."

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Police are conducting an internal investigation after home surveillance video shows an officer turn the camera away from activity, after police entered the wrong home.

A police report obtained by the I-Team shows MPD received a 911 call about three men arguing near 12th Street and W. Finn Place after 1:30 a.m. last Friday morning. The caller told police two of the men had guns.

According to the report, when police arrived, one of the men took off southbound and an officer believed he saw the man enter a home.

“I heard a loud bang, like someone broke something,” Twan Versey said.

That loud bang wasn’t the suspect, but police. The situation turned chaotic: As Versey came downstairs to see what was going on, he says he saw more than a half dozen lights and guns pointed at him. His girlfriend followed shortly thereafter, equally as confused and scared.

“That’s when I started to panic,” Jackie Washington said. “My nephew, I see the bathroom is closed and I know he’s in there.”

Washington’s nephew, Keyon Davis-Washington, had been staying with them for a while now to try and get his severe diabetic condition under control. Davis-Washington says his condition makes it difficult for him to control his bowels.

Last Friday morning, he was in the bathroom, cleaning himself up after an accident. Completely naked, he heard the chaos going on outside of the bathroom.

“When I heard the door get kicked, I froze up,” Davis-Washington said. “I started shaking, really, really, really bad. I thought I was going to die. I literally feared for my life.”

Versey’s home has a surveillance camera positioned on the kitchen stove. It captures most of the living room and kitchen. It records in 20 second increments after something triggers it, like motion or sound. The video shows officers clearing the home, looking for the suspect; a closet in the living room, another room attached to the kitchen. However, when officers were working on getting Davis-Washington out of the bathroom, one officer notices the camera on the stove.

“He stepped to the side and as another officer was coming into the kitchen from the living room, you could hear him snap to him and let him know there was a camera in there,” Versey said.

In the video, you see the officer holster his weapon, and walk out of frame. Three distinct snaps are heard as two officers turn to see what’s going on. The officer coming from the living room walks up to the camera and turns it away from the actions of the officers.

“Why would you touch the camera?” Versey said. “If you came to do your job, why would you touch the camera? Why would you adjust the camera in the first place? You knew you were doing something wrong. You knew you were caught. That doesn't do anything but make the situation worse.”

What happened with Davis-Washington was not caught on the surveillance camera. He says officers ordered him to put his hands up, despite wearing only a towel.

“With half a towel wrapped on me and feces still on me, I come out of the restroom,” Davis-Washington said. “Instead of putting my hands up, I kind of put my hands to my hips. I’m like, sir, I can’t put my hands up. If I put my hands up, I’m going to be exposed and you’ll see everything.”

Davis-Washington says during all of the commotion, he left his phone in the bathroom purposefully. He says the actions of police killing unarmed Black men was all he was thinking about.

Keyon Davis-Washington with his phone
Keyon Davis-Washington feared police would shoot him if he brought his phone out of the bathroom, believing it could be a weapon.

“I knew if I grabbed anything or had nothing in my hands, they’d probably think I had a gun in my hands and probably fire,” Davis-Washington said. “My first thought was, I don’t want to get shot. I’m trying to not get shot. Trying not to make the wrong move or anything because I know, if I did make the wrong move, I was going to be shot.”

“What really messed me up was when you turned that camera around and y’all had all the guns on my nephew,” Washington said. “Y’all were hoping this imaginary person y’all were chasing was in that bathroom and, all praise to the most high, my nephew did not walk out with that phone because he would have been dead. 20 years old. Dead.”

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