The Milwaukee Police Department has launched a "full administrative investigation" after a bystander's video appears to show officers dragging an unresponsive 31-year-old Milwaukee man who was fatally shot Tuesday by an officer near North 91st Street and West Silver Spring Drive.
The department said the incident began around 1:48 p.m. with an attempted traffic stop on a vehicle with no license plates in the 7000 block of West Thurston Avenue.
The driver initially stopped but then drove away as officers approached, Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said.
The driver of the suspected vehicle was subsequently spotted near North 60th Street and West Thurston Avenue and a pursuit ensued.
The chase ended when the driver ran a red light in the 9100 block of West Silver Spring Drive and struck another vehicle, Norman said.
The driver of the suspected vehicle then ran away with a gun in his hand, Norman said.
“During the foot pursuit, the suspect possessed a handgun and continued fleeing with a gun in his hand," Norman said. "The officer gave the suspect several commands to drop the gun and the officer discharged his firearm striking the suspect.”
The officer is a 43-year-old man with more than five years of service. He will be placed on administrative duty as is routine.
The man was identified Thursday by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office as Herman B. Lucas of Milwaukee. Attempts to reach his family were unsuccessful.
Norman said it is “unknown” if the man pointed the gun toward officers, adding the incident in under investigation.
Norman said he believes no other passengers were in the suspected vehicle.
The driver of the vehicle that collided with the suspected vehicle suffered no injuries, Norman said, adding that officers were not injured either.
The Waukesha Police Department will be the lead investigative agency.
A video that has been shared widely on social media shows the aftermath of the shooting. In the video an officer is seen dragging the man, who looks to be unresponsive.
Police issued a statement Tuesday regarding the video, saying "(MPD) is aware of videos that are circulating on social media platforms depicting portions of the incident including officers moving the suspect. MPD is conducting a full administrative investigation of this incident. MPD holds its members to the highest level of integrity and if it is determined that any member has violated the code of conduct they will be held accountable."
Mayor Cavalier Johnson told the Journal Sentinel early Wednesday afternoon he had seen the video of the man’s body being dragged by officers, but hadn’t talked with police yet about the department’s protocols or why the man’s body was moved.
He said it looked to him like the officers were trying to move the man to a harder surface than where he fell to render life support to him.
He said when the investigation is finished there will be recommendations that he and Chief Jeffrey Norman will look at.
On Wednesday, police said the work status of the officers seen in the video had not changed as the investigation continues. The department declined to provide any further information.
Norman said Tuesday the incident would be subject to the department's "community briefing" series, in which police release limited and edited body camera footage within a goal of 45 days. The department has not always met that goal, however.
There is no law or policy currently in place that requires the department to release footage by a certain time. However, when the department instituted community briefings in 2018, they set the goal of roughly 45 days. "Delays such as scheduling conflicts with the decedent's next of kin to view the community briefing prior to the release have occurred," the department said.
Tuesday's shooting comes a week after Milwaukee police buried Officer Peter Jerving, who was shot and killed on duty Feb. 7 and amid a five-day period, during which six homicides were reported and two children died by gun violence.
Asked why residents should have confidence in his administration’s leadership on public safety issues, Johnson said the last few years have been hard in cities across the nation, but noted drops in overall violent crime in the city since he came into office a little more than a year ago.
He said city leaders are “doing all that we can” to prevent homicides, citing Camp Rise, youth jobs program, and efforts to increase good-paying jobs and affordable housing and create stability in the city’s neighborhoods.
But he said state and federal leaders need to clamp down on people’s ability to get their hands on guns.
“We need that partnership and we will continue to beat that drum to the folks that are in power in Madison and Washington about the need to change,” he said. “Because if we don’t, we will continue to see these deadly consequences on the street and I don’t want to see that. That’s why we’re investing so much time and energy and effort on these front-end sort of measures, and those are the things that we have direct control over.”
Alison Dirr and Elliot Hughes of the Journal Sentinel contributed to this report.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee police shoot, kill man fleeing with a gun, chief says