WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – Dash camera video may be a key piece of evidence in the fatal police involved shooting that took place Friday along Route 11 in Trumbull County.
State investigators continue to pour through officers’ statements and evidence in the shooting of 25-year-old Cody Dempsey.
Dempsey was shot by officers along Route 11 in Liberty Township following a police chase. According to police, they were in pursuit because Dempsey was driving a stolen vehicle and refused to stop.
When officers finally pulled Dempsey over, they say he brandished a handgun. Witnesses said gunfire was exchanged between Dempsey and police, but that has not been confirmed by investigators.
“We are still very early on in this investigation, so we are not prepared to answer any questions as to who fired any rounds,” said Lieutenant Brian Holt, Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Dr. Joseph Ohr, chief pathologist for the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office, said Dempsey was shot eight times, and six of those shots to the chest and abdomen combined to be fatal. The other two shots hit him in the hand and grazed his shoulder, the autopsy report shows.
He said toxicology tests have been ordered to determine if Dempsey had drugs or alcohol in his system at the time since police said Dempsey had a history of drug addiction.
Rich Cappella witnessed the entire incident and said in an exclusive interview with WKBN 27 First News that Dempsey shot first.
“They surrounded his car and he opened fire on them, and they just all fired on him,” Cappella said.
The truth may lie in the dash camera video from the patrol cruiser. Captain Ken Criswell with the Niles police Department said dash cameras more often than not exonerate police officers in cases such as this.
“The video doesn’t lie. It is what it is,” Criswell said. “You can see the actions instead of just the police officer’s word against now a victim that is deceased that can’t tell his side of the story. You just look at the video.”
WYTV 33 News has put in a public records request with the Ohio Highway State Patrol in Columbus to obtain the video.
Currently none of the Trumbull County Sheriff’s fleet or Weathersfield police cruisers has dash cameras. An official in the sheriff’s office said they have been trying to get cameras in their cruisers for years.