Video shows police shooting unarmed disabled man

Video shows police shooting unarmed disabled man

Newly released surveillance footage shows a North Carolina SWAT team shooting an unarmed disabled man several times after he was accused of holding a hostage.

Jason Kloepfer released the footage, as well as photos of his injuries, from the 13 December incident on Facebook on Friday.

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement last month that police arrived at the mobile home in the southwestern corner of the state at about 11pm after a 911 call reported gunshots being fired.

The sheriff’s office got a search warrant for the home, believing there was a hostage inside, the New York Post reported. The office asked for help from the Cherokee Indian Police Department’s SWAT team.

The press release initially shared by the office claimed that Mr Kloepfer “engaged in a verbal altercation with officers” and that he then came out of the home and “confronted” police which supposedly led to the 41-year-old being shot.

But the surveillance shows a different version of events. The officers are seen throwing a robot device with a light and cameras into the home, seemingly waking Mr Kloepfer and his wife Alison Mahler in their back room.

“What’s going on?” Ms Mahler says in the footage.

“Step outside the door onto the deck and show us your hands!” an officer says. “Jason, we just want to talk to you. Come outside.”

Jason Kloepfer, 41, was shot by police in Cherokee County, North Carolina, on 13 December (Facebook / J Harley Kloepfer)
Jason Kloepfer, 41, was shot by police in Cherokee County, North Carolina, on 13 December (Facebook / J Harley Kloepfer)

Mr Kloepfer picks up the device and opens the front door, his hands in the air. That’s when officers open fire.

“I’m shot!” he yells as he falls to his kitchen floor.

“What the hell did you do?!” Ms Mahler shouts at the officers as Mr Kloepfer sits on the floor, bleeding heavily.

He’s once again told to exit the home as the husband and wife attempt to explain that he can’t do that because of his injuries.

“I don’t have a gun! I didn’t have a gun!” he says, dragging himself across the floor towards the door.

Officers, heavily armed, enter the home a few minutes later, stepping over the 41-year-old.

After checking the rest of the home, an officer tells another to “start working on” Mr Kloepfer. He’s taken from the home, and three officers go back inside.

“F*** bro, f***!” one of them yells.

“Hey, cameras, cameras!” another officer says, seemingly warning his co-worker.

Mr Kloepfer was treated at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee and charged with communicating threats and resisting, obstructing, and delaying, according to the New York Post.

“I am physically doing better, mentally me an Ali ain’t so good on this one,” Mr Kloepfer wrote on Facebook on Friday. “We are out of state for fear of our lives since I got out the hospital.”

He added that he couldn’t talk about the details of his case but said that the charges against him are “completely wrong”.

“This has been and still is a horrible nightmare we are trying to get [through],” he wrote.

Cherokee County Sheriff Dustin Smith said in a statement that “since the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office does not have a tactical team to handle a hostage event, I requested assistance from the Cherokee Indian Police Department SWAT Team”.

“Subsequently, members of CIPD SWAT fired shots at an individual who emerged from the home, injuring him,” he added, saying that he published the initial press release without first-hand knowledge of the events that transpired.

“Neither myself nor Chief Deputy Justin Jacobs were on the scene at the time of the shooting, so we relied on information provided to us from the Cherokee Indian Police Department,” he said. “My goal with issuing that press release was not to comment on the subsequent criminal investigation, which remains ongoing, but rather to update the public on a dangerous situation.”

The Independent has reached out to the Cherokee Indian Police Department for comment.