Footage shows small portion of deputy shooting
BY AMELIA HARPER
Rocky Mount Telegram
Monday, March 11, 2019
NASHVILLE — Body camera footage from a Feb. 9 officer-involved shooting shows only a brief image of the actual shooting while footage from cameras worn by other officers captured only the aftermath.
The Nash County Sheriff’s Office released the footage along with recordings of the 911 call and radio traffic on Sunday to comply with a court ruling in favor of the family of Jonathan Ramirez, 28, an assault suspect who was killed.
The footage showing the shooting lasts only a few seconds. It was taken by a camera worn by an officer not directly involved in the shooting. This officer, who was not identified, was present at the scene more than 10 minutes before the shooting occurred.
On his body cam footage, the officer is seen questioning a Spanish-speaking neighbor about Ramirez. He is seen explaining to the neighbor that the sheriff’s office had received a call about a possible assault by Ramirez and that officers were informed that Ramirez had cocaine and and AK-47 in his possession.
The officer then said, “J.T.’s got eyes on him and sent a team in this direction.”
The officer and at least two other law enforcement personnel then search several vehicles around Ramirez’s residence and questioned the neighbor further before the officer returns to his own parked vehicle to listen to calls related to the incident. A little over 10 minutes after the body camera footage begins, the officer steps out of his vehicle in time to capture a brief glimpse of Ramirez as he is shot and falls to the ground.
The footage clearly shows Ramirez approaching several Nash County deputies. He appears to be bent slightly, with something in his hands. However, the video was not clear enough to show whether he had a weapon as the video was shot from some distance away.
A State Bureau of Investigation agent testified Thursday that the deputy’s camera was the only one of at least eight body and dashboard cameras activated during shooting. The hearing was prompted by a request for the video’s release made by the Ramirez’ family and three Raleigh-area television stations.
The three deputies who were involved in the shooting and are on administrative leave while the SBI completes its review — Sgt. John Winstead, Deputy Stan Ricks and Detective Taylor Neal — turned on their body cameras after Ramirez was shot, the agent testified.
Superior Court Judge Quentin Sumner ordered the sheriff’s office to release the footage.
Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said during a Feb. 11 news conference that Ramirez had a weapon and that a conversation had taken place between deputies and Ramirez before the shooting. The video record does not include any conversation with Ramirez and contains no clear image of a weapon in his hands or of the recovery of a weapon.
Most of the rest of the footage shows the nightmarish aftermath of the shooting. Law enforcement officers were striving to keep a growing number of family members who arrived at the scene calm and clear of the crime scene. Some family members screamed, others wept and still others taunted and cursed law enforcement officers in what was clearly a tense and dramatic situation.
The most heart-breaking scenes were those of Ramirez’s parents who emerge from their home just after the shooting, confused and upset at the scene before them. The father kept shouting, “You shot my son! You shot my son on my property! I can’t believe it!” In the meantime, Francisca Ramirez tries to go to her son and then falls to the ground praying for him.
A fresh wave of grief erupted as officers, after trying to treat the son’s injuries, placed a sheet over his slain body. At one point after her son was placed in the ambulance, Francisca Ramirez can be seen sitting in a pool of her son’s blood while her husband held her and rocked her in his arms.
The nearly 13-minute 911 call that started the chain of events revealed that a woman who said she had two friends in her car with her reported that Ramirez had tried to sexually assault her in his vehicle after they had both been drinking. The woman said she was frightened because he had offered her cocaine and she saw he had an AK-47 in the back of his car. When Ramirez reportedly offered her $300 to be with him, she somehow got away, followed Ramirez and called 911 to report the incident, identifying Ramirez by name and describing his vehicle down to the license plate number.
Less than 16 minutes later, according to radio traffic reports, Ramirez was dead at the hands of three deputies after he reportedly pulled his weapon on them when they confronted him as he got out of his vehicle in front of his home on the 1200 block of Maudis Road in Bailey.
The State Bureau of Investigation continues to investigate the incident and the three officers involved remain on administrative leave.