The Broward Sheriff’s Office has released more details about the fatal shooting of Gregory Frazier, who was killed by police officers in his backyard on Friday night.
On Monday, the BSO released audio of the two 911 calls placed by family members leading up to the shooting.
“He tried to hit my daughter and my son, he’s breaking up stuff in the house,” a woman tells dispatchers in the first call. “Hurry up, please. He’s physical. He’s got a knife.” Later on, she explains, “My daughter locked the room door because she was seeing about the baby. He got all upset because he’s been drinking all day.”
“Has he injured anyone with the knife, or is he just flashing it around?” the dispatcher asks.
“No, no, he’s flashing it around,” the woman answers.
The second call was placed by a different woman. (Both callers’ names are redacted from the audio, but Gregory Frazier’s sister, Deborah, has said that she placed the first call.)
“He broke everything in my mom’s house,” the second caller says. “He started an altercation with me. He fought me, and then he reached out to calm me down.”
“Does he still have his knife on him?” the dispatcher asks.
“He keeps in his pocket,” the woman answers.
At a community forum at the Greater Bethel AME Church in Pompano Beach last night, Sheriff Scott Israel said the shooting would be investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as would all future shootings involving police. He acknowledged that Frazier had been shot multiple times but said he could not disclose the exact number of shots that were fired.
Meanwhile, the Frazier family has retained lawyers from the Tallahassee-based firm of Parks & Crump, LLC, best known for representing the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Corey Jones. “Rest assured, we are working diligently with our legal team to determine exactly why police felt the need to execute him as he ate his supper in the backyard of his house rather than use negotiation tactics,” they wrote in a statement.
Already, Frazier’s family and the BSO disagree on several key details.
-The number and race of the officers who responded to the 911 call: Although the identities of the deputies involved have not yet been released, spokesperson Veda Coleman-Wright says that one was white and the other was black. However, Frazier’s nephew Quartaze Woodard, who witnessed the shooting, says there were three officers, all of whom were white. The third officer did not fire a gun and left the scene, Woodard said Saturday.
-Whether Frazier was standing or sitting when he was shot: Family members who witnessed the shooting say he was sitting. Sheriff Scott Israel says he was standing.
-Whether or not officers were wearing body cameras: Xavier Frazier, Gregory Frazier’s son, says he was told by a BSO employee that at least one of the officers who shot his father was wearing a body camera. Israel says none of the officers were wearing body cameras.
Ultimately, though, the BSO and the Frazier family agree on one thing: they don’t know why Gregory Frazier was shot and killed rather than being taken safely into custody.
“Whatever happened to negotiations?” Xavier Frazier asked the crowd of pastors, community members, and law enforcement officers who had assembled at Greater Bethel AME. “I’ve seen police brutality all over the country — I never thought I’d be part of one of those families. I never thought my father would become a part of this horrible trend around the country, where police shoot first and ask questions later.”
Later on, Israel, admitted that he, too, was unclear on exactly what transpired Friday night. “I don’t know what happened in that backyard — I pray that I will,” he said.
You can listen to the audio recordings of both 911 calls here:
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.