Warning: this article contains disturbing content, including graphic video.
PALESTINE, Texas (SND) — James Bushey moved to Palestine, Texas after “losing everything”. He had been through a divorce, was abusing alcohol, and needed a job. “He was just a good guy and down on his luck,” Said his brother, Jeff. The Bushey brothers had been living together while James tried to get on his feet. He was looking for work, attending a rehabilitation program, and—according to Jeff—he was doing better.
But now, James Bushey is dead, and his family still can’t understand why. “He would have never done something like this, but he had a lot going through his mind.” Said Jeff. “I guess it messed with his head. I’ll never understand why he did it.”
“You just never get over the hole losing a child puts in your heart,” Said Bushey’s mother, Linda Camardie. “He was a good boy and I don’t understand why the officers had to shoot him six times. He wasn’t a bad person. He just made a bad decision.”
What happened to James Bushey? On May 31st, 2015, he walked into the local Walmart store and shoplifted a case of beer. Loss Prevention reported the theft to police, who followed Bushey into the nearby Applebee’s restaurant. There, the two responding officers—Sgt. Gabriel Green and Kaylynn Griffin—found Bushey hiding in a bathroom. They waited patiently while he washed his hands and calmly escorted him outside.
Nobody expected Bushey to pull a gun. He died eight seconds after brandishing an air-pistol designed to look like a Colt 1911—shot to death by police amidst screams of “Gun! Gun! Gun!”. A grand jury declined charging officers Green and Griffin with any crime, and the use of deadly force against Bushey was ruled justified. The Anderson County Criminal District Attorney’s Office released this statement:
“After reviewing the evidence, including body camera videos worn by the officers, and testimony in the investigation, the Grand Jury decided to take no action against the officers as they determined the use of deadly force was justified. Therefore, no criminal charges will be filed against Sergeant Gabriel Green and Officer Kaylynn Griffin.”
But at a time when the public is demanding more transparency within law enforcement, the word of the Anderson Grand Jury may not have been enough to convince the residents of Palestine that deadly force was warranted. One month after the incident occurred, the Palestine Police Department released the body cam videos from both of the involved officers.
The videos captured the incidents from both Sgt. Green and patrol officer Griffin’s perspectives. The footage depicts Bushey’s death and is extremely graphic. Viewer discretion is advised.
Public response to the police shooting has largely been supportive of officers Green and Griffin, as well as the Palestine PD’s decision to release the body cam footage.
“These officers do not deserve one bit of criticism.” Commented Ricky Minton, a resident of Palestine. “Don’t get me wrong, anytime police take a life it should be investigated, but people in this town jumped to a lot of conclusions and this video is the final part of this story. Look how fast that happened.”
On reddit, where Officer Griffin’s body cam footage was posted to /r/videos, several users noted how the officers’ training impacted the incident.
Some, however, expressed concern that Bushey’s family would be traumatized by the videos of his death.
You may also enjoy: