In a push to be as transparent as possible about the shooting death of black 18-year-old Antonio Martin by a 34-year-old white police officer in Berkeley, Missouri, Tuesday night, the St. Louis County Police Department has released three videos they say caught images of the shooting, including one which allegedly shows Martin raising a gun at the police officer.
The police department shared links to the videos posted to YouTube via their Twitter page.
All three videos were posted to YouTube on Christmas Eve. In a noted post in the description of the second video, police say there were 31 cameras rolling at the scene of the shooting but only three caught images of the incident.
"In this video the camera is behind Martin. He can be seen approaching the officer at the lower left of the screen toward the end of the video," noted a description on the video highlighting a second angle of the shooting. This video is the second longest of the three videos running some 1 minute and 31 seconds and had been viewed just over 400,000 times as of noon on Friday.
In the first and longest video that runs a total of 1 minute and 46 seconds, the police state: "This video shows the suspect pointing a gun at the officer."
It further highlights the official account of what triggered the shooting of Martin by the unidentified officer at the Mobile gas station at approximately 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 23.
The report explains that the officer observed two male subjects on the side of the building so he exited his vehicle and approached them. One of the men, who was later identified as Martin, pulled a handgun and pointed it at the officer.
"Fearing for his life, the Berkeley officer fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him. The second subject fled the scene," the police noted.
Police say the third video, which lasts 20 seconds, shows the dramatic scene and the officer's frantic retreat.
"This third and final video angle show the officer involved in the shooting retreating as he fires shots at Martin. The scene is in the upper left corner of the screen. Martin has been left out of frame out of respect for his grieving family. The officer is seen retreating and falling back, not standing over Martin's body as erroneously reported by several media outlets," note the police.
On Wednesday, as protests continued into Christmas morning, officials worked hard at rejecting any parallels to the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson or Eric Garner in New York.
"You couldn't even compare this with Ferguson or the Garner case in New York," said Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins who is black. He noted that more than half of the 9,000 officers in Berkeley including command staff are black.
State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a black Democrat who has been critical of how police handled the Brown case, agreed in comments to USA Today that this case was much different that the Brown and Garner cases because the suspect was armed.
"That officer not only has an obligation to protect the community, but he also has a responsibility to protect himself," she told USA Today. "Because of the video, it is more than apparent that his life was in jeopardy."