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Family Of Darrell Zemault Sr. Has ‘More Questions than Answers’ After Viewing Body Cam Footage Of Police Shooting

Courtesy of Celeste Brown

Family members of Darrell Zemault Sr. say they have been left with “more questions than answers” after viewing the body cam footage of the police officers who killed Zemault in September, according to a statement from the family released on Saturday.

Zemault’s daughter Susie Zemault and his goddaughter Celeste Brown watched the footage on Friday. They described frustration with the footage the San Antonio Police Department offered.

“The San Antonio Police Department did not allow us to view footage from all five officers, nor did we see camera footage from the police vehicles,” the statement said. “We saw only two clips from two angles that were roughly 2-3 (minutes) each along with one edited clip that was slowed down .”

The family also called the footage “limited” and “controlled” and claimed SAPD was withholding information from the family and the public.

Marlon Davis, an activist involved with Black Futures Collective and who is close to the family, elaborated on the family’s concerns.

“They were not deemed worthy enough to have access to all of these clips despite the fact that officers (involved in the shooting) have allegedly had access to all the uncut footage,” Davis said.

Davis is referring to the fact that under the San Antonio Police Officers Association’s collective bargaining agreement with the city, officers under investigation for possible misconduct are able to view all evidence before being interviewed by internal affairs. The internal SAPD investigation in Zemault’s case is ongoing.

According to the family’s statement, SAPD only offered them two angles of the footage because they were the only clips “which in [SAPD’s] opinion ‘showed why the shooting occurred.’”

An SAPD spokesperson confirmed that the department “showed the family the relevant camera angles” but said they could not discuss it further because it is under investigation.

The family’s statement did not describe the footage or confirm whether it lined up with the version of events offered by SAPD or Zemault’s neighbor; officers say they shot Zemault after he reached for one of their guns, but a neighbor says he was shot in the back as he tried to walk into his home.

The family made a final plea in the statement for all future families who have to try to extract body cam footage from SAPD.

“The policies on the timely release of body camera footage need to be clarified, standardized, and made transparent to the public so that no family is left to experience this sort of ongoing agony.”

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