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Body camera video shows Kansas City, Kansas man grab for gun before being shot by police

Video seems to corroborate police's claims on incident
Man Run Over Deputy LIONEL WOMACK
Posted at 10:12 PM, Jul 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-30 10:26:48-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — On the same week the Kansas City area laid a North Kansas City police officer to rest, the release of another video of an officer involved shooting demonstrates how quickly a situation can turn deadly.

KSHB 41 obtained body worn camera video from the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department in the shooting death of Lionel Womack.

Womack, a former police detective, was shot and killed by law enforcement officers last November.

This newly released video seems to support the explanation given by police as to why they say they were forced to shoot Womack.

Before the shooting, officers responded to the area on a report of a man walking in the middle of the road, acting strange.

In the video, when the first officer arrives, you can see Womack start running toward the officer, before trying to get into the passenger side of his police car.

Then, Womack comes around the front of the car and appears to charge toward the officer, who raises his gun.

As Womack gets out, the officer again raises his gun and Womack appears to grab for the weapon, engaging the officer in a struggle.

Watching that scene again from the body camera of the second officer offers an even clearer look at what prompted the fatal shots to be fired.

First, as the second officer gets out of the car and approaches Womack, he can be heard trying to calm him down, saying "Hey, hey, relax, relax."

But, as Womack reverses course around the front of the car, the second officer comes around the back, in time to capture the two men grappling over the gun.

Womack falls to the ground, and appears to point the gun at the first officer who either fell or intentionally threw his body to the side to take cover.

From there, Womack seems to swing the gun toward the second officer, who opens fire, shooting Womack.

You can then hear the first officer ask, "Ok buddy?"

The second officer then replies, "Yeah, I'm okay. I think I got hit in the toe."

A couple seconds later, the first officer exclaims, "You just saved my life."

After Womack died, his family questioned the shooting, asking whether more could have been done to deescalate the situation.

"That’s the hard part, it's not so much he was a Black man. He was one of them," Arthur Hayes, Womack's former father-in-law, said. "They called him brother once upon a time and now you're going to kill your brother? Why?"

Hayes said that if officials ruled the shooting was justified, he wanted an explanation as to why.

"If it comes out it's justifiable, show me, show us, because it's not looking justifiable to us," Hayes said.

Just last month, the Wyandotte County District Attorney's Office confirmed the two officers would not face charges.

Although not commenting specifically on this case, a special agent with the ATF previously explained that de-escalation is not a mandatory tactic.

Instead, he says it's something officers try if safety and time are on their side.

"These situations can go from very calm, to very threatening and life or death situations in a split second," James Balthazar, a senior special agent at the ATF, said. "That's one of the reasons the Supreme Court, even in Graham vs. Connor, they said that people have to make allowances for the fact that officers are making these decisions in situations that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving."

Womack had been with the department since 2007 and was promoted to detective in 2019.

However, he was fired in August of 2020 due to what the Chief of Police described as "Personnel issues."

Just four days after his termination, Womack was run over by a Kiowa County Sheriff's Deputy in a field during a police chase, after he ran from a traffic stop.

He then filed a federal lawsuit against that deputy alleging excessive force.