ATLANTA - Atlanta Police released surveillance video Friday of a January incident where a man died after he was shot by a detective.
Deaundre Phillips, 24, died in the incident outside of the Police Department’s Public Safety Annex after he was shot by investigator Yasim Abdulahad on Thursday, January 26.
The video depicts the moments prior to the shooting of Phillips. It shows detectives leaving an unmarked red car and approaching the vehicle Phillips was inside of. After a minute-and-a-half elapses in the video, the vehicle speeds off with one officer clearly standing outside. The video does not clearly show the second officer inside the vehicle, though movement is seen inside the vehicle.
The Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard Jr. released the following statement minutes after the video's release:
“Our job is to make an independent review of this matter based upon the facts surrounding the death. We have not received copies of interviews or files from the GBI. Once we receive this information, as we have been called upon many times in the past, we will make our assessment and then let the chips fall where they may."
According to investigators, Abdulahad and another officer drove to the facility to complete administrative duties.
Police said as the detectives parked and got out of their vehicle, they smelled marijuana coming from another parked car. They approached the vehicle and found inside a man, later identified as Phillips.
Atlanta Police said the detectives began a conversation with Phillips, who exited the vehicle. Then, according to police, Phillips "lunged" back into the car and tried to flee. Atlanta Police said the detectives saw a gun on the floor of the vehicle.
Investigators said Abdulahad was partially in the passenger side of the car as the vehicle tried to flee. That's when the detective opened fire, striking and killing Phillips.
At a meeting of the Atlanta City Council’s Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, February 14, Police Chief Erika Shields revealed threats have been made against the two officers.
The revelation from the chief came amid calls for city council members to force the police department to release evidence, including any video of the shooting, but the chief said at that meeting she would not release the names.
“I am weighing transparency against releasing names and having to live with myself if somebody... These threats were very graphic and a couple of them were. And I just I don't know if it's mere anger or if there's someone who is going to exercise on them and we at this time, I'm just not comfortable releasing the names,” said the chief.
But the following day, on Wednesday, February 15, Chief Shields identified the detective who fired the gun as Abdulahad, an 11-year-veteran, and announced the department would release the video on February 24.
Abdulahad was assigned to the Gun Reduction Task Force at the time of the incident.
Atlanta police have turned over the investigation of the death to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Police said the footage has been shared with the Phillips family and their attorney, Chris Stewart.
Days after the shooting, attorney Stewart complained that Atlanta Police left out important details about the shooting.
"He was actually a passenger going to the Atlanta Annex on purpose, to a police department on purpose, with his friends to pick some documents," said Stewart. "How two plain clothed detectives ended up getting into a confrontation with the man the driver last saw sleeping when he went inside, we don't know."
According to Atlanta police, Phillips had an active warrant out for his arrest from Fulton County. Police also said there was a firearm visible on the floorboard of the passenger side of the vehicle he was in.
“It has been determined that the male has a lengthy criminal history as well as a gang affiliation with the Rolling 60s Crips,” Atlanta police said in a statement released to FOX 5.
The family’s attorney said Phillips’ criminal history extended to him being arrested twice when he was 17.
On Friday, February 17, FOX 5 learned Abdulahad is receiving protection from Homeland Security.
Chief Shields, in a bulletin to all of her officers explained the special protective detail. The move comes as she is being criticized by some in the department for releasing the detective’s name.
Chief Shields initially said she had concerns about making the identity of the shooter public because of “graphic” threats made on social media.
When she changed that decision 24 hours later, the action drew the ire of the police union.
Vince Champion believes the names of both officers should be withheld until the investigation into the officer involved killing is complete.
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