Society

Black Man Livestreams Police Shooting Him On Facebook (Video)

| by Michael Allen

An African-American man, Rodney James Hess, streamed video (below) to Facebook Live on March 16 as he was fatally shot by Crockett County sheriff's deputy in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Hess parked his SUV perpendicular on a ramp connecting highways, which blocked traffic and brought deputies to the scene, notes WHBQ.

The deputies said Hess did not obey their commands, made erratic statements and tried hit them at least twice with his SUV, according to TBI.

In the Facebook Live video, Hess sits in his car and asks the deputies: "I would like the higher commands. I would like the higher commands to come out. I need the higher commands to come out."

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A deputy -- holding an object -- approaches the vehicle, the video camera is juggled around, a shot is heard, Hess screams in pain, the car starts moving and the camera is bumped around.

TBI spokesman Josh DeVine confirmed a deputy fired at Hess, reports CNN:

During the escalation of events, at least one Crockett County deputy fired his service weapon through the front windshield of the vehicle driven by Hess, striking him. At this time, we do not believe Hess used a firearm in connection to this incident.

After Hess was shot, he drove a short distance and stopped, according to the TBI. He was airlifted to a hospital in Memphis, but later died. None of the deputies were injured in the incident.

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An unidentified ex-classmate of Hess told the news station that Hess did not take his medication, which may have been for a mental illness.

The Hess family lawyer, Don Rouzan, said Hess was requesting to speak to high-ranking officers when he said "higher commands," reports CNN.

Rouzan added that Hess did not raise his voice or act aggressively.

"At the time there was no threat," Rouzan stated. "He was asking for a supervising officer and they opened fire."

In a separate video on Facebook, relatives of Hess called for any witnesses to come forward, and asked that there be a full investigation so that Hess' death is not just another black man killed by the police.

TBI agents and forensic scientists are still gathering evidence, which will be presented to the district attorney general, DeVine said, reports CNN.

"In this and all investigations, the TBI acts only as fact-finders," DeVine stated. "The decision as to whether the deputy's actions were justified rests solely with the district attorney general."

Warning: The video contains disturbing scenes.

Hess' Relatives

Sources: CNN, WHBQ / Photo credit: Crockett County Sheriff's Dept/Facebook

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