ATLANTA — Newly released video depicting the moments before an officer-involved shooting that killed 24-year-old Deaundre Phillips last month is raising new questions about the initial statement provided by the Atlanta Police Department.
The video, released by the Fulton County District Attorney's office, shows two plain-clothes Atlanta Police officers approach a vehicle at the Atlanta Police Annex on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway.
They appear to question Phillips outside of the vehicle on Jan. 26 just before 8 p.m. The officers, identified as El Malik Roberson-EL and Yasin Abdulahad, said that they smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle.
Phillips and Abdulahad, an 11-year veteran with the department, exchange words, and then become involved in a physical altercation that appears to carry on inside of the vehicle.
"For some explainable reason, Officer Abdulahad jumps fully in the vehicle," L. Chris Stewart, the family's attorney, said.
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Footage then appears to show the scuffle continue inside of the car as Phillips attempts to drive off. The shooting happens when the car is out of frame, Stewart said.
Following the shooting, the Atlanta Police Department released a statement that the shooting occurred because "one of the APD investigators was partially in the passenger side of the vehicle as the vehicle fled."
Stewart says the video contradicts that account.
"We have zoomed in on the alleged door that the officer was hanging out of and is being dragged from, and it's completely shut," said Stewart. "If it was such a threatening situation, his [partner's] weapon would have been drawn."
Additionally, the GBI recovered a small amount of marijuana on Phillips. The weapon recovered from the vehicle did not play a role in the shooting, the GBI said.
The case remains under investigation by the GBI, and their findings will be turned over to the Fulton County district attorney's office for review.
The Atlanta Police Department released a statement Friday evening that reads,
"The department is appreciative of the GBI’s efforts and willingness to conduct an impartial investigation on our officer-involved shooting. APD places enormous value on transparency and objectivity, and will accept the findings of the GBI’s investigation."
After releasing the video Friday afternoon, the Fulton County DA's office released a statement that said the "video footage depicts activities and events which might appear inconsistent with what has previously been described by the media."
Phillips, a high school graduate and father, leaves behind a family that is demanding Officer Abdulahad be fired and is renewing calls for justice to be served.
"That officer needs to be held accountable," Stewart said.
Cox Media Group