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Attorney: Bodycam shows teen surrender before police shot him

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — An attorney representing the family of a 14-year-old who was killed by police in Aurora is asking questions about the level of response used by officers.

FOX31’s Vicente Arenas spoke with attorney Siddhartha Rathod, who said Jor’Dell Richardson‘s family will be at a news conference Friday after Aurora Police release the video of the shooting of the 14-year-old.

Richardson was shot and killed by police who were responding to an armed robbery at a vape shop last week.

Rathod said that Richardson’s parents did not see the video but he and some extended family members did view it, along with a pastor and an NAACP representative on Tuesday.

Jor'Dell Richardson with his mother and older brother
Jor’Dell Richardson with his mother and older brother (Photo courtesy of Rathod Mohamedbhai)

Rathod told FOX31 the teen was surrendering.

“He was verbally surrendering immediately prior to being shot,” he said. “The (police bodycam) video raises more questions than it answers.”

In addition to the body camera video, Rathod said the family is trying to see if any cameras outside the business captured the incident.

“The external surveillance footage is critical to understanding what happened here,” he said.

Rathod told FOX31 it does not make sense that Richardson was holding a gun.

“It’s fair to say Jor’Dell is not fighting. He’s on the ground on his back. He’s got his right hand, with the officer’s knee on it and you cannot see anything from his chest down or where his left hand is in the video,” Rathod said.

Rathod also questioned the call that police were responding to, claiming the officers’ radio traffic mentions a shoplifting incident but not an armed robbery.

“All the officers who were involved in Jor’Dell’s death knew that this was shoplifting,” Rathod said. “Officers responded to suspicious kids with COVID masks and hoodies standing outside of a store. That’s all the information they had. And right before the kid gets out, there is some sort of radio communication and he says they are shoplifting.”

One thing is for sure, Rathod told FOX31: 14-year-old Richardson was shot and killed by the officers who responded.

“What we do know is, he is saying the second before he is shot, ‘You got me, you got me.’ He’s surrendering,” Rathod said.

Aurora Police Chief Art Acevedo’s response

The Aurora Police Department said the chief is not available for an on-camera interview but a written response to these comments from the attorney is below.

“Yesterday, I met with counsel and family representatives for Jor’Dell Richardson and facilitated the review of body-worn camera footage of the police shooting that occurred on June 1, 2023. While I understand that the family, their representatives, and the community have many questions, the footage is one piece of a comprehensive investigation into the shooting.  The 18th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team Investigation, the Aurora Police Department Internal Affairs investigation, and the investigation into the armed robbery are all ongoing.

“I am confident that these investigations will provide answers to the questions that remain unanswered.  In the interim, and in the spirit of transparency,  I plan to hold a press conference this coming Friday afternoon and will release body-worn camera footage of the incident.  Given that these investigations have not been completed, I urge everyone to withhold final judgment.  Our thoughts continue to be with Jor’Dell’s family, and everyone impacted by this tragic event,” Aurora Police Chief Art Acevedo sent FOX31 in an email.

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