Alabama cop may lose medal earned for shooting suspect — after video shows he was lying about man’s gun
Officer Daniel Aguirre was awarded a medal earlier this year after shooting a robbery suspect during an arrest — but a newly released video shows he was lying.
The Birmingham Police Department temporarily rescinded the Combat Cross Medal late Tuesday awarded to Aguirre in May after AL.com published a dashboard camera video obtained from a confidential source.
Aguirre was awarded the medal after shooting Aubrey Williams during an April 24, 2014, robbery investigation.
He and Officer Richard Haluska had been looking for suspects when they confronted Williams and Devon Brown, and police later said that Aguirre used a Taser on Brown after the suspect struggled with the second officer.
Aguirre told investigators that Williams then pointed a gun at him and Haluska and refused to drop the weapon.
The officer then shot Williams twice, but the suspect survived and now faces two charges of attempted murder.
But the suspect’s attorney said the video contradicts Aguirre’s account.
The video shows Haluska handcuffing one suspect while Aguirre drops a Taser from his left hand and approach Williams — who is on his hands and knees.
Aguirre is holding a gun in his right hand, and he fires twice as he rolls Williams over in an apparent attempt to search him.
The officer kicks away a sack and gun from underneath Williams — but the suspect never holds the gun during the video, which begins just a couple of seconds before the shooting.
“This video provides evidence that Police Officer Daniel Aguirre shot Aubrey Williams twice despite the fact that Williams was on his hands and knees and not in a position to fire a weapon,” said activist Frank James Matthews III, head of the Outcast Voters League. “It is clear that the Birmingham Police Department attempted to prevent the release of this footage, and it seems that Officer Aguirre’s actions were rewarded based on outright lies.”
The civil rights group is asking Birmingham police to rescind the medal awarded to Aguirre after the shooting.
It’s not clear whether the the Awards Committee or police investigators had seen the dashcam video before it was published.
Both Williams and Brown were charged with possession of firearms by convicted felons, and Brown was later charged with murder in an unrelated case.
Birmingham police are considering whether to withdraw the medal after the video was published, but law enforcement officials defended Aguirre.
“The most important part of this encounter was there was no loss of life but the incident does underscore the dangers of police work,” said Lt. Sean Edwards, public information officer for the department.
Watch the entire video posted online by AL.com: