Newly released video from a body camera revealed the circumstances surrounding a controversial officer-involved shooting that resulted in the injury of a Maryland man last spring.
When the officers arrived on the scene of the alleged burglary, they were met with an 15-year-old. When the teenager refused to follow their order to stop, they deployed a stun-gun on him, said the press release.
Then, four Laurel officers searched the property for any more suspects.
The body camera footage showed an officer approaching a door with a gun in hand, and peering inside.
When the officer went through the door, he immediately fired his weapon, hitting 20-year-old Rashawn Curbeam.
When the shooting was first investigated, the City of Laurel classified the unidentified officer's actions as "unintentional." The official press release stated the officer had been startled by Curbeam's movement in the dark.
Although the officer who shot Curbeam has not been named, the City of Laurel verified that he is a 17-year veteran of the force. The city also confirmed that he serves as a SWAT team member and firearms instructor.
"First, this was not a police justified shooting. Mr. Curbeam was unarmed, shot in the back and not posing a threat to the officer when he was shot down.
"We believe the video speaks for itself, and while we understand the Laurel Police Department deems this tragedy an accident, we disagree and believe the video shows otherwise. Police officers are in a unique position of power and authority in our communities; and as such they have a responsibility to be transparent and accountable for their actions. They are specifically trained only to use deadly force when necessary. Deadly force was clearly not necessary in this instance, and even under the most generous interpretation of the officer's actions in this event, there is no possible interpretation under which the officer's actions were warranted or should be excused."
Although he was shot in the back, Curbeam will appear in a Prince George's County court next week to face burglary charges.
(Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)