PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Portsmouth NAACP is calling on the Portsmouth Police department to release any video that documents what happened Sunday morning when an officer opened fire on a 19-year-old man on Greenwood Drive not far from George Washington Highway.

A citizen’s video currently posted to Youtube has the headline “Virginia man tries to commit suicide by cop.”
Two days later, the mother of the man who was shot wants residents to see the aftermath of what happened when a police officer used potentially deadly force on her son who she says is under treatment for mental illness.

“I thank God that we have videos of exactly what happened. In the name of Jesus, please pray for me and my family,” said Kennette Rawls in an emotional interview near the scene where her son was shot.

Ms. Rawls shared pictures with 10 On Your Side that were taken as her son recovers from two gunshot wounds to his right arm, two wounds to the right leg, one wound to the left leg, and a wound to his chest that Ms. Rawls says was caused by the unidentified officer’s taser.

(Photo courtesy: Kennette Rawls)

Andre Rawls graduated from Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake last year. That’s around the time, his mother says, his mental health deteriorated.

“He had heartbreak because he and his girlfriend [who used to live near the shooting scene] broke up. He has never been the same since then,” said Ms. Rawls.

Community members’ cameras were rolling Sunday morning when police say Rawls refused several orders to drop a sharp object. Rawls walked toward the officer while the officer walked backward. The officer opens fire, and Rawls falls to the ground as the officer falls to the ground.

He was rushed to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where it just so happens his grandmother was visiting a family member in a nearby room.

“And when she heard the name Rawls her heart had stopped … if it had not been for my mom being at the hospital we would have never known,” Ms. Rawls said.

The mother told 10 On Your Side on Tuesday afternoon that she has not heard from a single person in the Portsmouth Police Department. However, Tuesday afternoon she did hear from State Police, who have taken over the investigation.

In a statement to 10 On Your Side, James Boyd, president of the Portsmouth NAACP, said the organization is calling for transparency.

“We are aware of the officer-involved shooting that happened [Sunday] earlier today. We are examining it very closely, however, based upon videos that we have seen so far, we have questions.

The Use of Force Continuum, based upon standards set by the U.S 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, outlines steps of escalation and de-escalation in which officers are trained to specifically follow in situations where there is a “Reasonable Imminent Threat”. The preservation of life is paramount and before an officer uses deadly force, justification of that action must be clear and without doubt as the only option possible to minimize an imminent threat to themselves and or others.

Though the matter has been referred to the Virginia State Police, the family and the Citizens of Portsmouth deserve transparency and a full accounting of the circumstances.”


Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.