Police said the gunfire was intended for the 18-year-old's companion, Davante Snowden. According to Police Chief William McManus, Snowden took a threatening stance against Officer Steve Casanova.
McManus said Casanova then fired his service weapon, striking Snowden in the backside. The chief said the gunfire exited Snowden's buttocks hitting Roundtree in the chest.
The unarmed 18-year-old was killed. He had no criminal record.
Eyewitness News has been working for months to get a copy of Casanova's body camera video. SAPD denied the requests, citing the officer had not been cleared criminally, as well as the ongoing case investigation.
However, a source wishing to remain anonymous sent a copy of the officer's body camera video with a note that said, "You should see this."
KENS 5 was able to authenticate the nearly 90-minute-long video with Snowden's criminal attorney, Alex Washington. He had no comment beyond its verification.
The footage begins with Casanova sitting in his police cruiser, talking to Maria Herrera. Initially, there is no audio until the policeman gets out of his vehicle to investigate assault allegations.
Herrera said she was delivering soup to a Facebook client even though it was after 1 in the morning. [lol. Only racist suspect media & prosecutors would believe some bullshit like that]
Casanova and a second officer were reportedly watching 217 Roberts St. The couple was parked across the street from the house when the attack happened.
Herrera tells the officers the attacker was tall, skinny and had no hair. Casanova said officers would look for the attacker before returning to his vehicle to wait for backup to arrive.
According to the body camera, three officers got in position down the street from 217 Roberts in case any potential suspect ran.
Two officers accompanied Casanova to the house.
Casanova: What’s up, man? (Walks up to the house. Opens gate as he speaks to a man eating on the porch.) You live here?
Man: No, sir.
Casanova: You don’t? Who’s staying here right now?
Man: I don’t know.
Casanova: You don’t know. Remove your hat for me. (Shines police light on the man. The man pulls his hat up.) I recognize you.
The white cop walks on the porch and pulls on a locked screen door to the side of him. Two knocks can be heard on his body camera video. A nudge from the officer opens the front door, behind the screen door.
Snowden: What’s up?
Casanova: What’s up, man?
Snowden: Hey who the f*** is this?
Casanova: Hey lemme see your f***ing hands! (Fires gun twice) F***! Shots fired! (Runs toward the street.) Oh s**t! Watch out! Move out my way!
Dispatcher: 2330, you said shots fired?
Casanova: F***! Get back!
Officer: Back! Back! Back! (Emergency tone goes off. Dogs are barking and coming toward police.)
Casanova: Get that f***ing dog outta here!
Officer: What did you see?! What did you see?!
Casanova: Hey, he had a f***ing gun and pulled it out (Emergency tone sounds off).
Casanova is never seen entering the home in the video; he shot from outside the front screen door.
Officers rushed to the scene when they head the distress call. In the middle of the chaos, Casanova and the other officers allow the man who was eating on the porch to crawl out of the yard.
Snowden was shot in the backside. He was taken to University Hospital. Roundtree died inside of the home.
'Nothing...that would justify a use of deadly force'
Geary Ramey and George Saidler watched the body camera video in a KENS 5 conference room.
Ramey is a St. Mary’s Law School professor who was formerly a Dallas-based attorney. He also served as legal advisor for the Irving Police Department. He is an expert in criminal law, criminal law procedure, police searches, seizures and use-of-force.
“There’s nothing at the point of the shooting that would justify a use of deadly force in order to make an arrest,” Ramey said.
Saidler has 45 years of law enforcement experience, having worked at SAPD, where he was a robbery and homicide detective and SWAT member.
He also worked as a capital crimes investigator at the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, where he also looked into officer-involved shootings.
Before retiring, Saidler served as the deputy chief of criminal investigations. Officer-involved shooting investigations were investigated under his eye.
“I’m not aware of anything right off the top of my head that I see that just stands out to me and goes, 'Yeah, that’s not the way you should have handled that,'” Saidler said.
Ramey said it’s unclear if Snowden has a gun in the video. He doesn’t believe the people inside of 217 Roberts St. knew Casanova was an officer because he never identified himself.
“He certainly needs to identify himself quickly because he’s wearing a dark uniform. This is in the middle of the night,” Ramey said. “So it’s not going to be clear to anyone who is on the porch.”
Snowden was charged with felon in possession of weapon. Police have not held anyone criminally responsible for Roundtree’s death.
SAPD’s review was turned over to the DA’s office. It’s unclear where the case stands but Christine Del Prado, chief of Special Crimes for District Attorney Joe Gonzales, released the following statement:
“The officer shooting is under review, so we cannot make any further comment at this time."
Ramey said the DA’s Office has a lot of power and persuasion in such cases, including the ability to present the shooting to a grand jury for an indictment. He said most grand jurors are sympathetic to police.
“If we’re going to prosecute an officer, we have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that that officer not only caused the death,” he said. “And that it was an unlawful killing. We have to prove as a parcel that the officer was not justified, that the officer was not acting in self-defense.”
According to court filings, Casanova continues to work at SAPD. His attorney did not respond to a request for comment.