Body cam video conflicts with statements by Chief Alexander

In his press release, Chief David Alexander gave this description of the incident inside Allen Chapel AME Church:

“Officer Darling waited outside the sanctuary and spoke with a female who stated she would get them. The woman went back inside and sat near the child but no one came out. A male then exited and asked what Officer Darling needed. He also said he would get them, but no one came out. A third female came out to Officer Darling and agreed to get them but no one came out.

“Officer Darling waited outside the sanctuary approximately 15 minutes before she entered and quietly tried to request the parties move out of the sanctuary to resolve the matter.”

The body cam video starts 12:55 pm. A female usher opens the door for the officer to enter the sanctuary. The pastor invites her in and asks her to take a seat while they finish the service. The officer steps back into the foyer. The ushers are distressed and confused. They repeatedly asked to let them finish the service. Will the officer let them finish praying? The officer demands the child be brought to her immediately.

The officer is back in the church at 12:58 p.m — 3 minutes not 15 minutes as Chief Alexander said.

“Individuals seated with the child refused to comply with her request.”

The church isn’t crowded – mostly females, children and elderly. No one appears threatening in the video, unless you’re frightened by grandmothers dressed in white and holding cell phones.

The girl doesn’t want to leave. She is frightened. The ladies begged the officer to let the girl receive communion and stay to the end of the service. Finally the officer leaves the sanctuary and waits for her supervisor.

Chief Alexander also said, “At least one person within the congregation berated Officer Darling saying she was the cause of people being shot in the back. Alexander said that comment was recorded on the officer’s body camera.”

Initially I couldn’t find that being said, but I did find it in the third segment. A woman could be heard after the crying girl has been led into the foyer by the officer and her supervisor and is cringing as her father tries to hold her. The woman said, “That is why they figured they had the right to shoot…”the officer and others cut her off and you can hear “in the back.” It’s unclear what she meant by “they.”

The chief took that statement completely out of context.

On WEAR TV, Chief Alexander accused the Rev. Freddie Tellis of using the church as a shield.

Chief Alexander said, “For anyone to take church, something that I hold very dear to my heart, and use that as a shield, to evade an order that was issued by a judge, I think that’s a misrepresentation of what church is all about.”

The body cam video shows the pastor simply wanted to finish the service. He has told the media that PDD would have elicited a much calmer reaction had the officer simply waited until the end of the services to return the girl to her father. The time between when the officer entered the church until when they escorted the girl out of the sanctuary was 26 minutes. It would have been quicker had the officer not interrupted the service – the first video segment lasts over 8 minutes.