Fayetteville Man Killed by Off-Duty Cop Was ‘Shot in the Back,’ Says Attorney Ben Crump

Shoot First, Ask Later

 

 

 

 

On Monday night, as protesters swarmed outside, the Fayetteville City Council voted unanimously to request the DOJ probe Jason Walker’s fatal shooting.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump announced that he will be representing the family of 37-year-old Jason Walker, a Black man he said was “shot in the back as he tried to return home” on Saturday in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Crump said in a statement to The Daily Beast on Tuesday that Walker was shot less than 100 yards away from his parents’ home.

“We stand committed, with the family and the young son that Jason Walker left behind, to finding answers as to what happened to him when he was senselessly shot and killed by off-duty deputy Jeffrey Hash,” Crump said.

“We have reason to believe that this was a case of ‘shoot first, ask later,’ a philosophy seen all too often within law enforcement. We look to the North Carolina SBI [State Bureau of Investigation] for a swift and transparent investigation so that we can get justice for Jason and his loved ones.”

In a tweet on Monday, Crump asked, “Why was this level of EXCESSIVE force necessary?! We need transparency & answers as to why this off-duty officer ended Walker’s life!”

Walker’s family declined to comment for this story. Hash did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Monday night, as protesters swarmed outside, the Fayetteville City Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution requesting the Department of Justice probe Walker’s fatal shooting for possible civil-rights violations.

Fayetteville City Councilwoman Courtney Banks-McLaughlin first brought up the request. “I just want to ensure that they are assisting,” Banks-McLaughlin said during the meeting. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the Fayetteville Police Department, Walker, who was Black, was shot and killed by off-duty Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Jeffrey Hash on Saturday after allegedly running into traffic and jumping on Hash’s car.

On Tuesday, The Fayetteville Observer published a recording of Hash’s 911 call immediately after he shot Walker.

During the call, Hash told a dispatcher he was driving his Ford F150 when Walker allegedly came “flying across the road, running.” Hash claimed he stopped so he wouldn’t hit Walker, “and he jumped on my car and started screaming.” He then said Walker pulled his windshield wipers off and started “beating” his windshield.

Hash told the dispatcher he was with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. When asked if Walker was breathing, Hash said, “He is not. He’s gone.”

Later, Hash adds that he needs the police to arrive as there were “people gathering.” Hash tells the dispatcher, “There’s tons of cars and people gathering around.”

Those who said they saw parts of the incident unfold have claimed Walker was shot in the back by Hash. At rallies, Walker’s family contested the notion that he ever ran into traffic to begin with.

Since the shooting, the city has experienced three consecutive days of protests as activists and community members have demanded the arrest of Hash.

Investigation of the incident was quickly turned over to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Meanwhile, Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins said at Monday night’s city council meeting that she has already been in contact with the FBI and said the agency was doing an “initial assessment” of facts, body-camera footage, and statements made by witnesses.

“We are aware of the shooting death investigation in Fayetteville and are in regular contact with local and state authorities,” a spokesperson with the FBI told The Daily Beast on Monday. “If, in the course of the North Carolina SBI investigation, information comes to light of a potential federal violation, the FBI is prepared to investigate.”

 

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