A police chase on March 14, 2012 in Del City, Oklahoma ended with a young teen dead by being shot in the back by officers. After what is described as “a routine traffic stop” of Dane Scott Jr., 18, a chase ensued that ended with Scott Jr. hitting the back of an 18-wheeler two miles away near an I-35 on ramp.
This is where witnesses and police stories conflict. According to Del City police, Scott Jr. possessed a firearm when officers approached his vehicle, and a struggle occurred AFTERWHICH an officer shot Scott. Oklahoma’s Medical Examiner’s Office rule the death of Dane Scott Jr. a homicide and concluded that he was shot in the back.
Witnesses to the shooting claim Scott Jr. was running away from police officers with his hands in the air when police fired at the teen. A clerk at a nearby convenience store reports hearing “about 4, 5, 6” shots. The clerk states, “It was like being on a firing range.”
Since last Wednesday until now, Del City police have been scrambling to justify the homicide. Del City Police Department Captain Jody Suit offered the following explanation on March 15:
When Scott exited the vehicle, he did have a firearm in his hand. There was an altercation between the officer and Scott. During the course of that, they both went to the ground. When they got back up, shots were fired. We’re not going to go into details, yet, on how many and where. Scott did run for a distance from that location, where he later fell down and died.
This explantion makes way for other questions. Eyewitnesses say Scott was attempting to surrender at the time he was shot. Others say he was attempting to run away with his hands up. On more than one account, witnesses claim Scott did not have a gun when he was killed.
If, in fact, there was a scuffle between the officer and Dane Scott Jr. and multiple shots were fire, at such close range, how could a trained officer only manage to shoot Scott once in the back? Why were shots fired “when they got back up,” as Captain Suit said in his statement? One witness even stated that Scott was shot multiple times as he “tried to jump over the fence.”
Captain Suit’s explanation has changed significantly. On March 14, the day of the shooting, Suit stated, “The suspect pulled what appeared to be a firearm on the officer. The officer was able to subdue him temporarily, but then lost control of the suspect. Then, the suspect bailed to run. The officer fired several shots.”
Clearly, Dane Scott Jr. was shot in the back while he was standing–not during a struggle.
If a firearm was not recovered on the day of the shooting, how was Captain Suit able to report without a doubt that Scott indeed had a firearm the next day? This looks a lot like a police cover-up, as even members of Dane Scott, Jr.’s seem to believe. Scott’s family is planning to file suit over the homicide of their son. “He killed my child. My son just turned 18. They shot him down like he was nothing,” said Dane Scott Sr.
The officer involved in the shooting is currently on administrative leave–as protocol, and the department claims it will follow through with an investigation, and “there is a lot of work to do on it”. A Facebook tribute page has been created and vows to seek Justice for Dane Scott Jr.
The public is becoming increasingly more aware of police cover-ups, growing more suspicious of “official” stories, and is continuously calling for justice for these victims.
We will continue to follow this case and will bring you updates as they come.