Activist, FOP president, discuss de-escalation in police shooting of Jacksonville teen Devon Gregory

Vigil for 18-year-old Devon Gregory killed in police shooting in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Within 48 hours of the police-involved shooting of Devon Gregory, 18, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) released video from an officer’s body camera.

The shooting happened Tuesday night at the intersection of San Juan and Cassat Avenues in Lakeshore.

JSO says it released the video after the medical examiner found Gregory shot himself prior to officers opening fire.

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Whether his own gunshot killed him, or if it was intentional, remains under investigation.

The video is just over 19 minutes in length. The beginning shows officers conducting a traffic stop at the intersection of

The final 14 minutes of video show officers, with their guns drawn, trying to convince Gregory to show his hands. Gregory appears to be reaching for something underneath him in that portion of the video.

“Don’t reach under there! Hey! Stop f*****g reaching!” an officer said.

“I’m grabbing, I’m grabbing my phone! I’m grabbing my phone!” said Gregory.

The last 14 minutes show several intense exchanges between police and Gregory.

“Shoot me!” said Gregory.

“We do not want to shoot you!” said an officer.

After what sounds like an initial gunshot in the video, Gregory’s head and body begin to move backwards.

The video ends shortly after shots are heard. Shots ring out for about four seconds.

Christina kittle, co-founder of the Jacksonville Community Action Committee, spoke to Action News Jax after seeing the video. Kittle believes officers did not do enough to de-escalate the situation.

“It’s disorienting. You can’t have multiple officers screaming with guns pointed at you and expect somebody to comply. It’s disgusting. That’s not de-escalation,” said Kittle.

We took those concerns to Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police president, Steve Zona.

“I haven’t seen the entire video from what I’ve seen so far, those officers went above and beyond to try and call him down and try to reassure that he would be okay. The decision he made, unfortunately, forced the situation,” said Zona.

We spoke to Action News Jax Law and Safety expert Dale Carson about whether the contents of the video released by JSO would be enough to reach a conclusion on whether the shooting was justified.

Carson says investigators will need to review all the officers’ body camera videos before making a determination.

“Were they in imminent fear of death or great bodily harm on the other side of the automobile? I don’t know the answer to that question, and only the video from those body can answer those questions,” said Carson.

The video also shows Gregory asking to speak a family member who officers took into custody before the shooting.

“I want my brother to hear me, bro!” said Gregory.

“Hey, I prom --” said the officer.

“I want my brother to hear me!” said Gregory.

“I promise you you’ll get to talk to--” said the officer.

“I want my brother to hear me!” said Gregory.

Kittle feels allowing Gregory to see and speak to the family member taken into custody may have led to a peaceful resolution.

“The brother was already in handcuffs. They could have just brought him out to see the kid,” said Kittle.

Zona says officers did not have that option.

“Asking for a police officer to bring somebody back up into a situation of danger, or unknown risk, to try to deescalate this situation, is living in a fantasy world and watching too much television. It doesn’t work that way,” said Zona.

Four officers are on administrative leave, which is standard protocol.