Cedar Rapids Police release body-cam footage from fatal police shooting after protest

Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman provides an introduction to the released body-cam footage from the fatal Aug. 30 police shooting at Inn Circle. — video still

Shortly after noon on Thursday, the Cedar Rapids Police Department released body-camera footage of the fatal shooting of William Rich by CRPD officers on Aug. 30. The release of footage came two days after protesters marched from police headquarters to the Linn County Courthouse, demanding more information about the shooting.

The CRPD video posted online contains the footage from both officers on the scene, Investigator Christopher Christy and Sgt. Bryson Garringer, as well as still photos of the knife Rich was brandishing.

An introductory segment features Police Chief Wayne Jerman explaining why the two officers were at Inn Circle in southwest Cedar Rapids at approximately 1 a.m. on Aug. 30.

According to Jerman, a call was received by the CRPD Joint Communications Center at 12:55 a.m. about a domestic disturbance at Inn Circle.

“Our dispatchers received information that a female was assaulted by her husband,” Jerman said. “Dispatchers received further information that the male suspect had choked the female, punched her in the head and attempted to drown her. Dispatchers further advised that a male was chasing the female, and the female was screaming.”

There was also a second call from Inn Circle, with the caller telling the dispatcher “a female needs help,” Jerman said.

Officers were dispatched to the scene. Christy and Garringer were the first officers to arrive, and the only ones there until after the shooting. The officers are part of CRPD’s Mobile Assist Team, members of which wear plain clothes and vests with “police” displayed in large white letters on the front and back.

Jerman then described the other sections of the nine-and-a-half-minute video.

The first segment is from Sgt. Garringer’s body-camera,, and includes normal-speed audio and video of the incident as officers arrived on the scene. The second segment is at a reduced speed with several freeze-frames depicting the weapon displayed towards officers. The third segment is from Investigator Christy’s body-camera, and includes audio and video. As you will see, Investigator Christy’s body-camera becomes dislodged during the physical altercation. The fourth segment contains synchronized video of Sgt. Garrenger and Investigator Christy’s body-cameras of the event as it unfolded.

The final segment includes still photographs of the weapon displayed towards officers as it was collected at the scene, and it was processed by the crime scene investigators with the measurement.

The blade on what appears in the video to be a kitchen knife measures 8.46 inches.

The video shows the officers approaching Rich and a woman, who can be heard saying, “No, no, no. You did it once again, William. You did it once again.”

Rich had been arrested for domestic violence for an incident at Inn Lodge on May 8. The week before the shooting he pleaded guilty to one count of felony domestic abuse assault and was placed on probation.

Christy approaches Rich, tells him to “knock it off,” and grabs his arm. Rich attempts to pull free and begins fighting the officers. Rich can be seen holding the knife.

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After punches are thrown, Rich pulls away from the officers. As Rich starts to move towards the officers, they tell him to “get back.” Rich appears to be holding the knife in a threatening way, and the officers have their weapons out. Three shots are fired, and Rich falls down, still holding the knife.

From the time the officers arrive until the first shots are fired is approximately 50 seconds.

The officers tell him to stay down, but Rich gets back up, holding the knife with the blade pointed at the officer, as if ready to stab or at least threaten to do so. Four more shots are fired; Rich falls down again. He appears to be conscious and is still holding the knife. Christy bends over Rich and takes the knife away.

Rich died following the shooting. An autopsy “has been scheduled with the Office of the Iowa State Medical Examiner,” according to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, which is conducting an investigation of the shooting.

Advocates for Social Justice (ASJ), which organized the Wednesday protest, issued a statement following the publication of the video.

“Transparency from law enforcement is crucial in rebuilding community trust and ASJ hopes that such transparency continues in a timely and respectful fashion,” the statement said. “… Communities of color have long felt a mistrust of law enforcement and the criminal justice system. Immediate public outcry for the release of the bodycam footage regarding William Rich’s death is a result of said mistrust. Community-centered action items are necessary to rebuilding community relations with law enforcement.”

ASJ said it was “witness to the agony the family has experienced since the death of their loved one. ASJ will continue to support and stand by the family during this difficult process…”

“The loss of a human life, no matter the circumstances, is tragic.”