RICHMOND, Va. --More than 100 people gathered at Second Baptist Church in Richmond on Saturday to protest the death of the naked and unarmed man fatally shot by a Richmond police officer on I-95 on May 24.
Family, friends and community members came together to demand justice for 24-year-old Marcus Peters after police body camera footage captured during the shooting was made public Friday.
“One thing that was made clear, there are officers nationwide that need to be equipped with more strategies than using deadly force," Princess Blanding, Peters' sister, said. "It was clearly notated when the officer got out of his car that he was dealing with a mental health situation.”
Peters sister said she had never seen her brother display the kind of behavior depicted in the video and had no idea what may have prompted it.
”But when our first responders and our law enforcement officers made the encounter, we can acknowledge that they`re dealing with a mental health situation, there has to be better ways to de-escalate it and address it.”
RPD releases video from fatal I-95 shooting
In an effort to present facts and provide transparency, Richmond Police released the officer's body camera video during a news conference Friday.
Richmond, Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said he broke department protocol and released the video amid the investigation, so the public could see what happened during the May 14 incident and stop spread of falsehoods on social media.
"We are wearing a lot of hats and when incidents like this happen and folks want to beat us up over it, it hurts. It hurts the morale of my officer. It hurts me," Chief Durham said.
Richmond Police Officer Michael Nyantakyi fatally shot 24-year-old Marcus Peters, who was unarmed and naked, during a bizarre incident on Interstate 95 in downtown Richmond.
The police body camera video showed Peters charge and threaten to kill Officer Nyantakyi after the officer used a Taser in an attempt to subdue Peters.
“I only wish we could have helped Mr. Peters like we do with so many people each and every day,” said chief Durham. “Unfortunately, this situation didn’t turn out that way.”
Legal analyst on body cam video: 'It's a very unusual set of circumstances'
CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone weighed in on the body camera video released by Richmond Police.
“The law requires that there be a reasonable threat of serious bodily harm or a threat to one’s life in order to use deadly force in self-defense," Stone said. "Here we`ve got an officer who made verbal commands to stop, and the man ignored the commands. And then the officer used a taser, which was the next level up in escalation and then that didn`t work. As the man approached him, that`s when the deadly forced was used."
Stone believes the officers’ actions were justifiable.
“I think there are many good arguments that the officer is justified in using deadly force under the circumstances," Stone said. "And it`s a very unusual set of circumstances with the man not wearing any clothes, because you know he doesn`t have a weapon. But as you see, he's approaching an officer who does have a weapon and sometimes that weapon can be turned on the officer or someone else.”
Family plans march to police headquarters
The FBI has contacted Richmond Police and is monitoring the case, Blanding said she will not give up in her quest for justice.
“I will continue to work hard and to fight, not only for justice for Marcus, but again for reformation. If the policies were being followed, then they're wrong," Blanding said.
The family is planning to march from the Siegel Center to the Richmond Police Department Headquarters on Saturday, June 2.
WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC AND VIOLENT IMAGES, AS WELL AS STRONG PROFANITY AND BRIEF MALE NUDITY. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.