Authorities this week released horrific footage of a November 2015 police shooting that resulted in the death of Jeremy Mardis—a six-year-old boy with autism.
The footage comes from a camera reportedly worn by Marksville, LA Sergeant Kenneth Parnell III. It does not contain audio for the opening seconds. In the video, deputy marshals Derrick Stafford and Norris Greenhouse Jr. are seen opening fire on a vehicle being driven by Mardis' father, Chris Few. The shooting followed a car chase in which Jeremy was an unwitting passenger.
"I never saw a kid in the car, man," Stafford can be heard saying after the shooting, in which Few was also injured. "I never saw a kid, bro."
Warning: the video is graphic and may be upsetting for some viewers.
Shortly after Mardis' death, Louisiana State Police superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson called the footage "The most disturbing thing I've seen."
Following the shooting, both Stafford and Greenhouse were arrested and charged with second degree murder and attempted second degree murder. They have since been released on bail. The recent publication of the shooting footage reportedly came as part of an evidentiary hearing ahead of Stafford and Greenhouse's trials, slated for November and March, respectively.
In releasing the body camera tape on Wednesday, District Court Judge William Bennett pointed out that the footage appeared to contradict the officers' initial claim that they feared for their lives after Few attempted to ram their squad car with his vehicle.
"That car was not being used as a deadly weapon at that time," Bennett is quoted as saying. "I daresay it was not even close to being used as a deadly weapon at that time."
The release of police footage has become a contentious issue in recent months, following several high profile shootings involving law enforcement. In Charlotte, North Carolina, authorities initially refused—then relented to—public calls to show video depicting the death of Keith Scott, a black man killed by officers as they attempted to serve a warrant for another person. And in California, police have yet to release footage purported to show officers shooting Alfred Olango, an unarmed black man who was killed after allegedly pulling a vape pen from his pocket.
According to data compiled by The Guardian, Jeremy Mardis was the youngest American killed by police in 2015.