Conversations took place both Wednesday night, as officer Jason Raynor was in surgery, and Thursday afternoon, as the search for the accused shooter continued.
We have those same discussions about sensitivity and graphic imagery any time there’s a violent police encounter and each situation is analyzed thoroughly before a conclusion is reached.
In this case, the video released Wednesday night showed Raynor approaching 29-year-old Othal Wallace as he was behind the wheel of a gray Honda. Raynor had been conducting proactive patrols in the Kingston Avenue area that night, according to Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young.
Wallace immediately got out of the vehicle and asked Raynor, “What’s going on?” according to the video.
“Sit down. Sit, sit, sit, sit, sit,” Raynor told Wallace while putting his hand on Wallace’s shoulder.
Wallace remained standing and questioned why the officer approached him, the video shows.
“Come on, now, come on, now. Don’t do this,” Wallace said as Raynor tried to get him to sit back down, according to the recording.
The video then shows Wallace pushing the officer with his forearm and a struggle ensues. A single gunshot can be heard at about 26 seconds into the struggle just before Raynor falls to the ground.
News 6 Traffic Safety Expert Trooper Steve Montiero was a proponent of showing the video in its entirety.
“Over the past year, we have seen so many law enforcement encounters that have kind of motivated for reform and those videos were graphic,” Montiero said. “This is the stuff that as a cop you fear and I think showing something like this to the community can create a mutual respect.”
Not only that but he said it provides the public with insight on what officers face on a regular basis and how what should have been a routine encounter went tragically awry.
“You literally see from the point of view of that officer, another human being, fall to the ground. His life literally put on pause immediately and I think there is substance there,” Montiero said.
The 29-second video also illustrated how quickly a situation can escalate.
“I think there is a perspective that we don’t see. We see a third camera all the time, a cellphone video, this is a one-on-one interaction taking place with two human beings, one on the right side of the law and the other on the bad side, and in less than 30 seconds, everybody’s life has changed,” Montiero said.
Young said during a news conference Thursday evening that he wants the video to be seen and he hopes its jarring nature will help generate tips that lead to Wallace’s arrest.
“I realize it was graphic, but I want it to make an impact, we needed it to make the impact that it made,” Young said. “And that was our goal in releasing that footage because I still believe in this country the good outweighs the bad and the good hearted folks that see a video like that, if they have any information, that right there will get them to speak up.”
Weeks before the shooting, News 6 spoke with Young as part of the new Solutionaries digital newscast. He weighed in on police reform, implicit bias, de-escalation training, what it means to be a Black man in America and how he’s treated when he’s in uniform vs. when he’s not.
You can watch his candid interviews and the rest of the pilot episode of Solutionaries here.
As of Thursday night, the search for Wallace continues. He was last seen driving a gray 2016 Honda HR-V bearing California license plate number 7TNX532.
Anyone with information is asked to call the department’s emergency operations center at 386-671-5555. A $200,000 reward is being offered.