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DC plans to release security footage of police shooting at Wharf

DC officials said Monday they are considering releasing security camera video that may show an off-duty police commander fatally shooting a man who authorities say pointed a gun Saturday night in the Entertainment District. on the city waterfront.

Lawyers have called on the city to release the footage of the incident at the wharf, though Police Chief Robert J. Contee III said at a press conference Monday, “This decision has not yet was taken.” The chief praised the officer involved in the shooting – who officials told The Washington Post was Cmdr. Jason Bagshaw.

Contee said Bagshaw and his wife, who is also a DC police officer, “walked into danger…and they took action.”

“I think that means they care a lot about the city,” the chief said. “We have seen across this country mass shootings that have happened everywhere.”

Contee said people in Wharf Street panicked and ran when they saw a man pull out a gun, and the shooter had started shooting before Bagshaw intervened, it ‘could have been dangerous and deadly’ for passers-by.

Officials said Bagshaw’s wife attacked a man who had been with the shooter.

DC law gives officials five business days to publicly identify an officer who uses serious force and release video from that officer’s body camera. But in this case, Bagshaw was off duty and was not wearing a uniform or a camera.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said that because there is no body camera video, the administration is not subject to the five-day deadline.

Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, a racial justice group, demanded on Instagram that any video of the shooting be immediately released to the public. “Accountability is vital in this murder by the police,” the Instagram post reads.

It is unclear whether security camera video captured all or part of the encounter between Bagshaw and the man he shot and killed, 23-year-old Lazarus David Wilson of Dumfries, Va. Efforts to contact Wilson’s family were unsuccessful.

Several representatives of restaurants or other businesses near the scene of the shooting declined to provide the Post with video from their security cameras or said they had no video.

Bagshaw, a 20-year decorated veteran who heads the Special Operations Division, declined to comment through a department spokesperson.

The commander has been singled out by activist groups who have questioned his conduct in handling protests, particularly those involving racial justice following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Officer who killed man at Wharf was off duty

Saturday’s shooting happened shortly after 9pm as Bagshaw and his wife were leaving a restaurant in the 800 block of Wharf Street SW, a popular waterfront promenade lined with bars and restaurants.

Contee said Bagshaw – who has not been officially identified by police but was identified by The Post in a report published on Sunday – saw a man pointing a gun at others and ordered him to drop the firearm. Police said the man refused and Bagshaw shot Wilson and fatally injured him.

Police say Wilson came to the district with another man from Virginia and argued with other men in the district. Officials said Bagshaw may have interrupted an armed robbery. Police officials said they interviewed others involved in the incident and at least one person did not cooperate.

Noemy Sanchez, 21, who lives in Fort Worth and is interning in DC for a media company, said she and a friend were heading to Bistro Du Jour when they heard a pop and saw people running .

A few minutes later, she said, police burst into the area, a helicopter flew overhead and a police boat rushed to the dock. “We realized it was something serious,” said Sanchez, who did not see the person with the gun or the officer’s shot.

Her biggest concern, she said, was whether there was an active shooter and an ongoing threat. “It was scary, not really knowing what was going on,” Sanchez said.