No charges will be filed against the Ohio police officers who shot and killed a man who had been suspected of burglary while cleaning out his dead grandmother’s home, Hamilton County Prosecutor Melissa Powers announced Friday.
Police alleged the man, 28-year-old Joe Frasure Jr., drove a minivan toward them during the incident, which took place early Monday in the Cincinnati suburb of Wyoming. That account has been disputed by his relatives, who say he didn’t drive at them but that he was just there to clean out his dead grandmother’s apartment.
Body camera footage of the incident was released on Friday, but it is not conclusive. It shows the moment three officers arrived at an apartment complex in Wyoming, responding to a 911 call of suspected burglary.
“Whether he was driving intentionally to run the officers over or whether he was trying to flee, we will never know for sure,” Powers said at the Friday news conference.
Powers said Friday that officers administered care until paramedics arrived, and Frasure Jr. was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Family members told CNN on Thursday that Frasure Jr. was at the building cleaning out the apartment of his recently deceased grandmother. But at the news conference, Powers said that the building was vacant and people were only permitted to be in the building to clean stuff out during the daytime.
All three officers who responded to the call are on paid administrative leave, Powers said. The officers’ names have not been released. The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting.
The half-brother of Frasure Jr., Joseph L. Frasure Jr., told CNN on Friday that the family is “extremely angry” after seeing the bodycam videos. “I want justice,” he said, “I’m going to keep protesting, I do not want this swept underneath the rug,”
4 gunshots heard in bodycam video
Law enforcement officers responded to a 911 call shortly after 12:30 a.m. on Monday that reported two or three people were trying to break into an apartment in the city, police in that city said in an earlier news release.
When officers arrived, they “encountered possible suspects” at the rear of the building who they say “disregarded repeated commands from the officers,” according to the release.
Relatives of Frasure Jr. previously said they want more details from authorities about what happened during the incident.
“I want answers,” Frasure Jr.’s mother, Lisa Fisher, told CNN affiliate WLWT earlier this week. “I want the body cam and everything.”
Officers initially saw Frasure Jr. at the complex with his father, 52-year-old Joseph Frasure Sr., Powers said on Friday.
When officers arrived at the scene, Frasure Jr. was in a vehicle and did not obey commands to get out, Powers said, echoing a statement made by Wyoming Police Chief Brooke Brady earlier this week.
Roughly three minutes after arriving on-scene, officers can be seen in the body camera footage near the minivan and heard shouting at the two men to “put your hands in the air,” and “stop.”
The bodycam videos show multiple angles of Frasure Jr.’s father initially putting the car in reverse, away from the direction of the officers, crashing into a tree and then putting the car in drive and accelerating as officers ran.
Brady said in her video statement that Frasure Jr. was in a minivan that reversed at high speed, hit a tree, and then “accelerated rapidly at our officers.”
One officer can be heard on the body camera footage shouting to Frasure Jr. to “get out of the car” as it was reversing.
Four gunshots can then be heard, the video shows, as the minivan crashes into the side of a building.
Officers shot the minivan in three places, and shot Frasure Jr. once in the head, Powers said.
2 officers fired shots
Two of the three Wyoming officers on scene fired shots toward the minivan, striking Frasure Jr., according to a statement from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.
Frasure Jr. was transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he died on Tuesday, the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office told CNN.
“Our officers answer calls like this every day to protect the public and to stop crime,” Brady said in her video statement, urging patience as the investigation moves forward. “The work they do is hard and it requires them to make split-second decisions, just as they did in this case.”
But family members insist Frasure Jr. did not mean to harm the officers – and had a valid reason to be at the complex.
He was with his father and sister to clean out the apartment of his deceased grandmother, his half-brother, Joseph, told CNN.
Joe Frasure Sr., his father, told WLWT that his son was not driving toward the officers.
“I don’t care what they say – it was not pointed at them,” Frasure Sr. said.