(Updated 7:40 p.m.) Lawyers for the family of the man fatally shot by West Hartford police said Tuesday that they have video data showing officers waited as long as seven minutes before trying to resuscitate the man.
Attorney Peter Bowman said the video, taken in the aftermath of the shooting of Mike Alexander-Garcia, goes against the generally accepted practice that police perform life saving measures immediately after shooting someone.
“As we continue to review and assess the videos … they continue to raise serious questions” about the Aug. 8 incident, Bowman said during a virtual press conference Tuesday afternoon.
West Hartford Police Chief Vernon Riddick and West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday after the press conference.
West Hartford police officer Alexander Teeter shot and killed Alexander-Garcia on Aug. 8 while trying to stop Alexander-Garcia from taking a car from Town Fair Tire and fleeing police pursuit.
According to Inspector General Robert Devlin of the Division of Criminal Justice, West Hartford police were initially trying to stop a stolen Hyundai Elantra on New Britain Avenue.
Click here to watch the bodycam footage provided by the Office of the Inspector General.
The Elantra became disabled when it collided with another vehicle, at which point Alexander-Garcia and Lyle Solsbury fled the scene.
Police were able to catch and arrest Solsbury, but weren’t able to locate Alexander-Garcia until he was seen entering a Toyota RAV4 at Town Fair Tire on New Britain Avenue.
Videos captured at the scene – including police body and dashboard cameras and the business’s surveillance system – show Alexander-Garcia backing out of a service bay and striking two vehicles, despite Teeter and the canine being in the vehicle with him.
Teeter then fired into the vehicle multiple times, causing Alexander-Garcia to crash into a utility pole. Alexander-Garcia was pronounced dead at 5:53 p.m., roughly an hour after the initial call.
Teeter is out on worker’s compensation leave.
Bowman, a managing partner with BBB attorneys, said he obtained video from a witness at the Town Fair Tire.
The video shows more than 90 seconds elapsed before police try to resuscitate Alexander-Garcia. Bowman also said, based on his firm’s investigation, the metadata shows the witness first started recording the video roughly five minutes after Alexander-Garcia was shot. Bowman said he’s still waiting for other video that could piece together the rest of the timeline. That includes whether police offered medical care during that gap.
Bowman said Tuesday the FBI and police departments all over the country adopted policies requiring officers to perform such life-saving measures immediately after using deadly force, even when the use of force is justified.
Those police shifts came after George Floyd was killed by a Minnesota police officer in May 2020.
Despite Bowman’s conclusion, he said the firm is still waiting for analysis from hired experts before deciding whether to file a lawsuit against the West Hartford Police Department.
“At this time, we have not made any conclusions,” he said, adding he hopes to receive those findings in the next two weeks.
He said an independent autopsy, funded by former NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp, was recently completed and Alexander-Garcia’s body was returned to his family.
Still, Bowman said he continues to have questions and concerns as the investigation continues. He said the video confirms Alexander-Garcia was not armed during the incident.
He questioned why Teeter released his police canine, and why both Teeter and the dog were in the car. Other BBB lawyers have previously suggested Teeter could have used other measures, such as a stop stick, to disable the vehicle.
Riddick issued a statement earlier this month saying the incident was a “dangerous situation involving multiple attempted carjackings,” and he urged people to wait for Devlin’s report before making their own conclusions.
Cantor previously said in the statement that the town and the department will cooperate with Devlin’s investigation.
Bowman said he’s waiting for more information from police, but acknowledged he may have to wait for some of it until Devlin’s own examination is done.