Officer-Involved Shooting - Rodney Rodriguez Smith Case
Below are links to body-worn camera footage (4) and dashboard camera videos (2) related to the June 2, 2016 officer involved shooting of Rodney Rodriguez Smith, as ordered release by North Carolina Superior Court Judge Jesse Caldwell.
Warning: Some of the following audio and video files contain graphic images and language. This content may be disturbing to some viewers. Discretion is advised.
Body-worn camera footage:
*The link includes footage from four body worn cameras. These are recorded copies of the native videos.
Ofc. Bell | Ofc. Kivette | Ofc. Ross | Ofc. Tryon
*The link also includes footage from two DMVR (dash-cam) cameras. These are re-recorded copies of the native videos.
Ofc. Bell In-Car | Ofc. Kiefer In-Car
Summarized Media Release:
On Thurday, June 2, 2016, University City Division patrol officers responded a call for service at 10:14pm to the 7700 block of N. Tryon Street in reference to an assault with a deadly weapon. The caller stated that a male victim had been shot while riding a CATS bus and the suspect got off and began walking inbound on N. Tryon Street. As officers approached the scene they observed a subject walking inbound on N. Tryon Street who fit the description of the shooting suspect. The two officers exited their patrol vehicles, and engaged with the suspect. They determined him to be armed with a handgun. During the encounter, they perceived an imminent deadly threat and fired their service weapons striking the subject. Medic arrived on scene and pronounced the subject deceased. The deceased was identified as Rodney Rodriguez Smith, DOB: 11/02/1997.
In regards to the shooting on the CATS bus, detectives have determined that the victim and Mr. Smith were known to one another and this was not a random act of violence. Based on information and evidence gathered during the investigation, detectives determined that Smith fired at least one shot at officers and the officers fired multiple shots at Smith.
“The heroic actions of these officers very likely protected other members of our community from additional harm. This is yet another illustration of the commitment of our officers who serve selflessly to keep our community safe.” – Chief of Police Kerr Putney
The court order petition for the release of law enforcement agency recordings was requested on January 6, 2017.
CMPD Statement Regarding the Court Order:
We support the decision by North Carolina Superior Court Judge Jesse Caldwell to release the video in its entirety. In keeping with department protocol, we do not oppose the release of video evidence after a case has been thoroughly investigated and adjudicated. Our preference is to always allow for a thorough investigation with the intent to have all sides presented.
District Attorney R. Andrew Murray Statement:
There is no dispute that Officers Bell and Tryon fired their weapons and killed Rodney Smith. Therefore, the central issue in this review is whether or not the officers were justified under North Carolina law in using deadly force. A police officer – or any other person – is justified in using deadly force if the officer reasonably believed, and in fact believed, that he or another person was in imminent danger of great bodily injury or death from the actions of the person who is shot. In this case, the evidence supports the conclusion that Smith pointed and fired a gun at Officer Tryon and consequently, the officers were justified in using deadly force to stop the attack and defend themselves. Under the law, when using deadly force, the justification of using force includes all force necessary to end the threat. In this case, officers fired a number of times and struck Smith five times. The number of shots was not excessive given the clear nature of the threat. Therefore, I have determined that this shooting was justified under the law of North Carolina and agree with your decision not to seek charges against either officer.