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West Valley City Police Release Video Of Officer Shooting 20-Year-Old Black Man

Aaron Crim/West Valley City
A screenshot of one of the body camera videos West Valley City Police released on Tuesday. Smith refused officers' commands to show both his hands and was shot after pulling the other hand from his pocket.

West Valley City Police released body camera footage Tuesday of two officers fatally shooting a black man accused of stealing from a cellphone store. The footage comes after community members protested over the weekend.

The department released three videos from different camera angles. Police say it started as a routine theft call and quickly became a home invasion.

The first video shows officer knocking on the door of a home where suspect, 20-year-old Elijah Smith had entered. Three young children are alone in the home. The child who answers the door tells the officer a man barged into the house and into the garage. Two officers then enter the home, announcing themselves. Twenty-four seconds pass between the time the officer opens the door to the garage and when he fires three shots at Smith. In that time the officer repeatedly tells Smith to raise his hands. Smith raises one, keeping the other concealed. Then he pulls his hand quickly from his pocket and the officer fires at him. Another officer deploys a Taser.

West Valley City Police Chief Colleen Jacobs says she believes the officers followed protocol. She added Smith died because he didn’t respond to officer’s commands, not because of his race.

A photo of 20-year-old Elijah Smith from the online fundraising site An account was created in Smith's name to raise money for funeral expenses.

But family members say Smith was not a threat. He only feared for his life.  

The officer who shot Smith, who has not been identified, is on paid administrative leave.

Unified Police Department is investigating the shooting.

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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