Battle Creek police release video of officer shooting

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — The Battle Creek Police Department released Friday a compilation of officer dashboard camera videos of the moments when an officer shot a suspect earlier this week.

The video released compiles footage from four different dash cameras over several minutes. Only one dashcam captures the moments of the shooting. However, it doesn’t show the shooting itself.

“We are releasing the video in hopes of clarifying the events of that night,” said Police Chief Jim Blocker in a news release. “At the same time, we cannot get too far in front of the legal process, to which all parties are entitled.”

The incident happened around 12:15 a.m. Tuesday in a shopping center parking lot near the intersection of LaVista Boulevard and Columbia Avenue.

Authorities say Officer Ryan O’Connell initiated a traffic stop for numerous violations, including erratic driving, stopping and backing up in the middle of the road and an illegal turn.

O’Connell spoke to the driver, 21-year-old Jacquann Smith of Jackson, outside the vehicle. A second officer, Andrew Frantz, arrived and spoke to the passenger, 18-year-old Daevion Wright of Jackson, police say.

According to the Battle Creek Police Department, Frantz saw Wright had a gun in his waistband and commanded him to put his hands up. Wright initially complied and Franz took the gun. However, Wright then began to reach under the seat. 

The department says as Wright reached down, Frantz begins yelling for Wright not to move. O’Connell moves Smith further from the scene and draws his own gun.

Frantz shot his gun, striking Wright twice. Police say they recovered both guns from the incident – a 25 caliber and a 9mm, both fully loaded.

Wright was taken by ambulance to a Kalamazoo hospital with injuries that are not considered life-threatening. 

Smith was arraigned on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon in an automobile. Wright was arraigned on charges of carrying a concealed weapon in an automobile, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm in commission of a felony.

Both officers remain on paid administrative leave while BCPD completes an internal investigation, and Michigan State Police completes an investigation of the shooting, which are typical procedures.

BCPD does not have body cameras, so there’s not a better view of what happened. The city did approve buying body cameras this week.

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