Police in Farmington, Utah, released body camera footage Wednesday that captured a barrage of gunfire that killed a 25-year-old man during a traffic stop last week.
Chase Allan was pulled over by Farmington police around 3:20 p.m. March 1 near a post office after an officer spotted an illegal license plate — a placard with a flag — on Allan’s blue BMW, Farmington Police Chief Eric Johnson said during a press release. The conference is on Wednesday.
During the news conference, Johnsen told reporters that the officers saw Allan reach down and began to shoot, but also said that it was unclear exactly what happened in those brief seconds, as the body camera view was unclear.
Farmington City Police Department, via AP
The footage – a compilation video from five body-worn police cameras and a single dashboard camera – shows a police car following Alan’s BMW into a parking lot. The officer parked behind Alan’s car, approached it and knocked on the driver’s window. The window cracked as Alan held up a cellphone.
“The reason you were stopped today is because your vehicle has no registration,” the officer tells Alan in the video.
“I don’t need to register and I don’t answer questions,” Alan replied.
“Okay,” the officer said, and then proceeded to call backup.
The officer and Alan go over why he was pulled over, before the officer tells Alan he’s “trapped and can’t leave.” He then asked for identification. Alan is heard citing legal arguments for his claim.
“I understand what you’re saying,” the officer replied. “But you have to legally identify yourself.”
A further argument ensued before Alan handed the officer a passport. The officer then ordered Allan to exit the vehicle. At this point, the video shows other officers arriving at the scene.
Alan is seen refusing to get out of the car. He is still wearing his seatbelt and holding his cellphone.
“I don’t need to,” Alan told the police.
The bodycam footage then pauses and highlights what police allege is a “holster on Mr. Allan’s hip.” The holster was “flexed upward,” visible through the driver’s window, police said.
Alan, who is wearing a khaki coat and a trucker hat, still refuses to go outside when another officer warns him that if he doesn’t comply, “we’re going to break the window and get you out.”
Alan was seen transferring his cellphone from his left hand to his right when an officer opened the driver’s door. The police video then stops to highlight what they claim is Alan’s right hand going towards the holster.
Another officer in a beanie leans into the front seat and tries to grab Alan as one officer shouts “Gun! Gun! Gun!”
The police officer closed the door and saw five officers draw their guns and quickly fire several rounds into the BMW. An officer then shouted “cease fire” and the shooting stopped.
Officers removed Alan’s body from the car. The footage stops again to highlight an “empty” holster on his hip. The video then shows a gun on the floor partially visible under the driver’s seat mat.
The five officers involved in the attack have not been identified.
“I think they deserve privacy right now,” Johnsen said Wednesday.
Alan’s family accused police of a “brutal murder”, saying they were “stonewalled” by the department, according to a statement published in local media last week. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Alan’s family said he had “been studying law for the last few years and was a patriot who did what he could to protect the freedom and liberty of the people of his community”.
Johnsen said four of the five officers have been with Farmington police for seven to eight months, and the fifth officer is a 12-year veteran of the department. The status of the officers was not clear, but Johnsen said he was 20% short on his force and thanked other police departments for helping with daily operations.
Alan’s family said the officer who pulled him over “requested multiple other officers to the scene a few blocks before the stop,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Johnsen contradicted the family’s statement at the press conference.
“I would like to point out that a statement that came out, an allegation that back-up was called earlier, is completely untrue,” the police said.
“It’s a tragic end to what started as an everyday traffic stop,” Johnsen said.