TAMPA (FOX 13) - A group of retired Tampa Police officers is bringing awareness to officer-involved shootings by reenacting the situations, and discussing the merit of the shootings, in a series of Youtube videos.
In recent years, cellphone videos showing officer-involved shootings have made news headlines. According to officers, it's the seconds before the gunshots that tell the whole story.
"What the videos never show, what dash cams and body cams never show, is they never show the fear, they never show the anxiety, they never show the hesitation," said Brett Bartlett, a retired police captain who worked for the Tampa Police Department for more than 30 years.
"Unless you've seen it from [the officer's] eyes, be very careful about what you say," said Bartlett.
Through his camera lens, Bartlett is giving civilians a new perspective on officer-involved shootings.
Together with retired Corporal Chip DeBlock, he films reenactments of real deadly force scenarios involving officers for a project called the LEO Roundtable.
"We started noticing that there were a lot of videos that are going viral on Youtube and Facebook showing police shootings, but they don't give the whole story. You don't see it from all the angles, and there's a lot of misinterpretation by the public on why police end up using deadly force," explained DeBlock.
With the help of other officers and deputies as actors, the duo recreated a shooting from August of 2017 in Estill, South Carolina, where Officer Quincy Smith attempted to stop a hooded suspect walking with one hand in his pocket and his other hand holding a phone to his ear.
After repeated orders to stop walking and show Officer Smith his hands, the suspect, Malcolm Antwan Orr, pulled a gun from his hoodie and shot Officer Smith in the neck.
"[Officer Smith] survives, but we're trying to show how that could have been handled differently," said DeBlock.
DeBlock filmed the shooting incident from two angles, the perspective of an onlooker and the perspective of the officer through a body-worn camera.
His video also recreates the incident, showing what could have happened if the officer fired his gun first on the suspect.
Along with legal experts, DeBlock and Bartlett discuss in their "LEO Roundtable whether or not the shooting, and a variety of other shootings, would be considered a "good or bad" officer shooting, depending on the circumstances.
"Are there mistakes being made, yes, but more times than not, the shootings are justified. When there are issues, more times than not, it's a training issue. It's not necessarily that the cop did something wrong intentionally," said DeBlock.