The wife of a man shot and killed by Houston police lashed out at Mayor Sylvester Turner on Tuesday, prompting the mayor to gavel a short recess of city council.
The outburst in council chambers came after Nikita Braziel and a group of two dozen protestors held a news conference outside City Hall, calling for change of HPD's body camera policy.
The group called the cameras a failure in the fatal shooting of Alva Braziel on Cullen Road on July 9. The videos previously released only show the aftermath of the shooting, with a dying Braziel in the middle of the road. Officers did not activate their body worn cameras in time to capture the initial confrontation.
“He had a family. He was feeding his family,” Braziel yelled at Turner. “Do you care? No. It’s not your child. It’s not your man. It’s not your husband. It’s not your wife. We don’t sleep at night. My kids go to a psychiatrist. Are you going to help us? No you’re not. But you’re going to sit here and tell a lie. He was crossing the street. He was not standing in the street.”
Houston Police Department spokeswoman Jodi Silva said the two officers were on routine patrol just before 1 a.m. July 9 when they spotted Braziel holding a gun. Silva said when police approached him, Braziel was pointing the gun straight up in the air. She said they ordered him to drop it. She said a bystander did, too.
"Both officers discharged their duty weapons,” Silva said. “Immediately, we called for aid…however, the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene."
Turner said he decided to release the graphic body cam video in the interest of transparency because of tensions over other recent police shootings around the country.
Nikita saw the video before it was released to the public, and said it only raised more questions for her.
"My reaction when I saw that video was, 'Why? Why?,'" Braziel asked. "What happened to, 'Can we help you? Put the gun down.' They don't do that anymore?"
The body cam footage did not show the actual shooting. HPD addressed that in a written statement:
“The two officers viewed the threat to themselves and the public as immediate, stopped their patrol vehicle and exited the vehicle even before it was in park. Once the threat was contained, officers activated their cameras."