Miami, FL – Over the weekend the Miami Police Department released body camera footage of a traffic stop that ended with a police sergeant shooting and killing 34-year-old Antwon Leonard Cooper.
Video of the deadly traffic stop that took place on March 8 near Northwestern Senior High School shows a Miami police officer calling out “gun” during a pat-down of Cooper but doesn’t show Cooper holding a weapon before he was shot in the head by another officer.
According to officials, Cooper was pulled over because the temporary tag on the car he was driving had expired. Video of the encounter shows the officer who made the stop approach Cooper on the driver’s side of the car. He asks, “Boss man, you got a license?” Cooper says he doesn’t. He then offers the cop another form of identification. The officer asks Cooper if there are any weapons in the vehicle. Cooper says no, then shows him the inside of a bag. The officer then tells Cooper to step out of the car. When the officer begins searching Cooper, he tries to flee and a struggle ensues. As Cooper tries to pull away from the officer’s grasp the officer calls out “gun.” The officer appears to fall to the ground at some point during the struggle but continues to hold onto Cooper by his hair. Suddenly a gunshot is heard and the struggle immediately ends. Another officer walks into the video still holding his gun as one of the officers is heard saying “Shots fired”.
Although police have not publicly released the name of the officer who shot Cooper, law enforcement sources have confirmed it was Sergeant Constant Rosemon, according to the Miami Herald.
The officer claims he shot Cooper because he was reaching for a gun.
Although no gun was seen in the body camera footage, police later released a photo of a firearm they say was at the scene.
Family members have expressed outrage after viewing the video and say the video proves Cooper was unarmed when he was killed.
“He took my son’s life! He’s a murderer!,” Tilisha Cooper said at a press conference.
Rawsi Williams and Frank T. Allen, the attorneys representing the family, said they will file a civil rights wrongful death lawsuit in state and federal court after notifying the parties, a legal requirement they said will take about five months.
“He shot him in the head at close range with another officer right there. Mr. Cooper was not holding a weapon. Mr. Cooper was not attacking an officer. And that sergeant used lethal force.” Rawsi Williams said.
Williams says the bodycam video helps counter the narrative that Cooper was armed, something the family has always denied.
Miami Police Chief Manny Morales released a statement that read, in part:
“While we understand that the videos do not show the totality of this tragic incident, we are confident that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation will be thorough and they have our continued support.”
The sergeant has been placed on administrative leave pending the FDLE investigation.