Hinds DA: Newly-released video of officer-involved shooting contradicts JPD’s internal investigation

Injured man’s attorney calls officer statements a “bold-faced lie”
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 10:18 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Surveillance video released to 3 On Your Side Thursday appears to show a Jackson police officer shoot a man in the back during a foot chase, contradicting internal reports from 2017 that the man attempted to fire first.

The 17-second video, newly-released to the public through certain news organizations, shows 23-year-old Devon Modacure running from two JPD officers, one of whom fires mid-stride. Modacure can be seen collapsing on another surveillance camera.

Modacure’s attorney, Carlos Moore, provided the video to 3 On Your Side, calling those internal police reports a “bold-faced lie" because the video doesn’t appear to match what was initially investigated.

He also claims his client, who survived the shooting, was hit three times in the back.

Internal affairs documents detail the recollections of former JPD officers Kenneth Short and Codey Smith, who were investigating another shooting on Memphis Street on October 27, 2017.

“Sgt. [Marie] Hampton began speaking with the possible suspect, and while she was doing so, [Short] noticed a bulge on the man’s right hip that was consistent in size with a concealed pistol,” investigator Todd Clement wrote. “When Sgt. Hampton attempted to pat the subject down, he pulled away from her and ran.”

Short said he and Smith chased after Modacure and noticed he pulled a handgun from his waistband, running with it in his right hand.

“When the suspect reached 3361 Fontaine Avenue, he turned toward them and raised the pistol, pointing it in their direction,” the investigator said. None of that was visible during the short surveillance clip.

“He didn’t have anything in his hand. He did not brandish a gun towards them," Moore said. Jurors never got to see that and decide for themselves, though.

Smith and Short were later no-billed by that Hinds County grand jury, let off the hook for shooting a man they pursued.

“It reminds me of what happened in Breonna Taylor’s case. Sometime there’s a selective presentation of evidence,” Moore said, suggesting JPD might have intentionally hidden the evidence.

Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens said JPD did not discover the video during its investigation -- one of Modacure’s former attorneys did -- but doesn’t believe it was intentionally left out.

That discovery has now triggered a re-opening of the case, one that Owens hopes to put before a grand jury once again.

“We immediately launched an independent investigation in contact with the mayor’s office to understand what actually happened in 2017 and subsequently 2018,” Owens told reporters Thursday.

Moore said he’s grateful the DA will present this case again, but in the meantime he wants these officers -- who both work in law enforcement elsewhere -- arrested.

“If it was Mr. Modacure caught on video shooting someone in the back, he would immediately be arrested for aggravated assault. Same thing needs to happen with these officers or former officers," Moore said.

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