BOSTON, Feb. 29, 2016—Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley today released video and audio recordings from the incident during which PETER FANFAN, 29, was fatally injured during a gunfight with police officers responding to a call for a person shot.
During a meeting with prosecutors assigned to the case, members of Fanfan’s family reviewed the recordings and asked that they be withheld from public view until after his funeral this past weekend. As with other cases in which video evidence has been released, Conley’s office agreed to that request.
The audio and video represent a portion of the evidence gathered since the shooting. Investigators have also obtained recorded statements from the involved officers and civilian witnesses; a discharged firearm from next to the deceased; a lead projectile from inside the tire of an unmarked Boston Police cruiser at the scene; data from the city’s ShotSpotter system; and other evidence.
Conley’s office is independently investigating the incident under Chapter 38, Section 4, of the Massachusetts General Laws, which places authority for all death investigations, including fatal police shootings, with the district attorney. Pursuant to his voluntary policy, Conley pledged to release the entire investigative file to Fanfan’s family and Boston’s media along with his findings when the probe is complete – a level of transparency unparalleled across the country.
“Our practice is to make every report, every photograph, every document, and every recording public at the investigation’s conclusion,” Conley said. “Whenever possible, we also release video evidence early in the process to offer the public access to the preliminary facts as we understand them. We can’t do so immediately for two reasons: we want witness statements to be based on recollections from the incident, untainted by any influence, and we believe the family deserves the opportunity to view it before the public. What’s most important is to conduct a full, fair, thorough investigation that doesn’t prejudge the facts or evidence. We rule nothing in or out at this early stage.”
The video clip from a private security camera depicts the area of Stanwood and Laredo streets at about 10:30 on the morning of Feb. 12 after multiple Boston Police officers received a radio call for a person shot. The footage appears to show the following sequence of events, with times taken from the clip’s timestamp:
10:29:13 Fanfan enters the frame from top right, turning from Stanwood Street onto Laredo Street.
10:29:29 A motor vehicle drives in reverse from right to left along Stanwood Street, coming to rest near the corner Fanfan had just turned.
10:29:49 Fanfan and another man, who is apparently injured and walking with a limp, enter the frame heading toward this vehicle.
10:29:51 An unmarked Boston Police cruiser operated by the first responding officer enters from the bottom left of the frame.
10:29:54 The officer in this cruiser opens his door and exits as Fanfan and the limping man head toward the vehicle waiting at the corner.
10:29:57 Fanfan appears to raise his hand, visible in a white glove, toward the officer while backing away.
10:29:58 The officer, who is activating his radio, ducks down behind the cruiser.
10:29:59 The limping man appears to lose his footing and fall.
10:30:00 The officer appears to unholster his service weapon, crouching and moving toward the rear of his cruiser.
10:30:01 The officer appears to raise his hands toward Fanfan and comes around the rear of his cruiser as Fanfan moves around the far side of the first vehicle.
10:30:04 The first vehicle begins to move in reverse while the officer moves back around the rear of his cruiser.
10:30:08 Fanfan can be seen lying in the street.
10:30:11 Additional officers responding to the scene enter the frame from the right while the first officer points his hands first toward Fanfan and then the vehicle, now at the left of the frame.
10:30:25 The first officer handcuffs the limping man.
Boston Police dispatch audio from the same event reveals that the first responding officer ordered the subject to “Drop the [expletive] gun” a moment before notifying the dispatcher of “shots fired.” In the seconds that follow, officers can be heard stating “shots fired, we got a suspect down;” yelling “we need help,” “gun,” and “show your hands;” calling in a “Code 303,” the Boston Police signal for the discharge of a service weapon; and requesting medical assistance.
Conley’s investigation is being overseen by Assistant District Attorney John Verner, the DA’s supervisor of special homicide investigations. Victim-witness advocates Katherine Moran and Alyssa Nelson-Kamalu have been assigned to the case.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.