Police Video From Shooting Leave Gladewater Residents Wanting More Details - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/1/06-Gladewater

Police Video From Shooting Leave Gladewater Residents Wanting More Details

Gladewater Police Officer Bryan Naismith said he feared for his life believing hit-and-run suspect Jonathan King was trying to run him over last June.

He fired at King several times, killing him. Just last week, an Upshur County grand jury refused to indict Naismith. Some of the day's events were captured on Naismith's dashboard camera.  We showed the video, in its entirety, to several prominent Gladewater community members.

A sentiment with which no one we spoke with disagrees -- when Jonathan King was running from Officer Naismith,

"He should have pulled over and let the law work for the way it should work," says Gladewater resident Cisco Frierson.

The video camera in Naismith's car captures very little after the officer gets out to handcuff two passengers King had let out before he drove out of sight.

"I think he should have left the location real quick and not come back, if he really wanted to get away, right?" asks Jack Phillips.

As we show Mr. Phillips the complete tape, there are gaps where nothing seems to be happening. But Naismith says he was handcuffing one of the two passengers to the left of the screen when King's car heads right at the three of them. Naismith said he raised and fired, just before King's car zooms across the frame.

"He had an obligation to protect the other two people he had on the ground," says Chris Downing.

Nauty Byrd Mayer adds, "You don't want to stand there and be run over, so I think he was justified."

Naismith runs across the frame after King's vehicle. The officer said King disappeared, and there's no movement in the video for 50 seconds.

As Naismith told investigators, he was standing just off the passenger side of the cruiser when King drives in again and turns sharply.  Naismith testified King turned in his direction. 

But that's something the video deosn't prove.

"I hope and pray he wasn't [heading for the officer] but what I see, my honest opinion is that he made a swerve. Now whether or not he was going at the officer, I don't know because you can't see where the officer is," Frierson said.

As the car swerved, Naismith said he fired at King. It's believed to be the fatal shot. Some support the officer's actions.

"It was obvious in the video that he was a target of the vehicle. That's why it come back around? It could have drove on off," asks Downing.

But Frierson wishes there had been a trial instead the grand jury refused to indict. Their proceedings remain secret.

"The way it is now with him not going to trial -- you have conflict.  But if he had gone to trial, and then found innocent on that basis, I think there would have been less conflict."

Even King's family says they'll never know why he ran from Officer Naismith.   It's another question of so many unanswered.

The forensic pathologist could not determine from which direction King was shot, according to the Upshur County District Attorney's office.

King's family believes he was shot in the back and may pursue civil charges.

Reported by Morgan Palmer. morganpalmer@kltv.com

 

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