CPD releases body camera footage after shots fired at Eagle Stop
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department released body camera footage Monday of an incident at the Eagle Stop gas station at I-70 and Providence Road. It happened Sunday and included shots fired and four arrests.
Police released the bodycam footage after questions were raised about cell phone video of the disturbance recorded by a bystander showing an officer using force on a woman and spraying pepper spray on a group of individuals.
CPD said it released the footage to better walk the public through the incident.
"To us, it was important to make sure that the complete picture of what transpired with that incident was released," said Bryana Larimer, public information officer.
Larimer said media outlets were concerned the video showed an officer pushing a woman to the ground. CPD's press release said the woman was pushed in order to bring Spencer Ervin into custody, the subject who fired shots at Eagle Stop.
Officers were dispatched to the incident at 1:46 a.m. in response to a disturbance in the parking lot of Eagle Stop with vehicles blocking the flow of traffic. Upon their arrival, they noticed several subjects fighting and deployed tasers to try and gain control of the situation.
Larimer says one of the subjects, Spencer Ervin, walked up to another individual on the scene, drew a firearm and fired a shot at the person. The subject who was shot at ran from the scene, and officers are unsure if he had any injuries.
"What appears to be happening was the woman was obstructing officer's way to get to Ervin, and ultimately our officers wanted to arrest Ervin because he had just shot at another person," Larimer said.
Police arrested Ervin, 30, for unlawful use of a weapon with a bond to be set by court. Three other arrests were made, though those three individuals were released on municipal summons.
According to CPD, officers later attempted to gain control of the evidence that was there, though individuals kept approaching police officers. That is when officers used pepper spray.
Larimer said sometimes cell phone videos of incidents like these can do more harm than good.
"Technology is great," Larimer said. "But I definitely think sometimes it can be our own worst enemy too, because it doesn't always give exactly what happened. It doesn't give that full picture."
The investigation is still on-going, as officers continue to figure out what caused the initial confrontation.
CPD typically releases bodycam footage if they receive several inquiries about an incident. The last time CPD released bodycam footage was after the Mark Adair shooting, which involved an armed robbery suspect being shot and killed by police. The University of Missouri's 2015 homecoming parade and protest also received several requests for the release of camera footage after claims of protesters being hit by the UM System president's vehicle.