MOSS POINT, Miss. (WLOX) - Body cam footage showing the moment a Moss Point police officer shot and killed Toussaint Diamon Sims was released to the public Monday.
Police say Sims was fleeing from authorities when he was shot on Aug. 8, 2019.
The body cam video lasts five minutes and 40 seconds from the time that police first encounter Sims at 3G’s convenience store on the corner of Jefferson and Telephone Road until the time he was cuffed after being shot near Second Street.
Police were responding to a call that Sims, who had felony and misdemeanor warrants, was spotted at the gas station. For 30 seconds, the officers attempted to take Sims into custody.
Investigators say Sims moved from the passenger seat to the driver’s seat of his vehicle and sped off, sending police on a chase through Moss Point that lasted four minutes and 20 seconds.
Sims then got out of his car and started running. One officer is seen in the video running after him holding both a taser and a police-issued pistol. Twelve seconds after the foot chase began, Sims was shot in a residential area and fell over a fence.
There is no audio of the pursuit until after the shot was fired. Police said that was because the officer involved didn’t have his mic on.
A second officer is seen in the video kicking what police say is the weapon Sims had when he was shot.
After watching the video and hearing evidence in the shooting, a grand jury determined that it was justified and that the officer would not face any criminal charges, stating in their report that Sims had six outstanding warrants, was in the process of fleeing law enforcement, and had a firearm with an extended magazine in his hands.
The family of Sims viewed the body cam video in private last week, two months after their loved one was killed. While Moss Point authorities didn’t answer questions Monday, the attorney hired by the Sims family did.
“It’s not easy for us to see what was happening with regard to the confrontation or the interaction between the officer and Mr. Sims," said the family’s attorney Brian Dunn of the Cochran Firm in California. “One of the things we can be sure of, one of the only things we can be sure of from that video is that he’s running away. He doesn’t appear to have adopted a combative stance. He doesn’t appear to have taken a fixed position. He appears to be in motion and running away."
Moss Point Police have maintained since Sims died that he was carrying a gun and refused to stop or drop the weapon when officers ordered him to do so.
According to attorney Calvin Taylor who represents the officer that fired the fatal shots, the weapon found next to Sims was a Taurus 9mm with an extended clip that was capable of firing 30 rounds of ammunition. The gun’s chamber was loaded, said the lawyer.
In a Facebook post made by Carlos Moore, who is a family member of Sims and an attorney at the Cochran Firm, a wrongful death civil lawsuit will be filed against the City of Moss Point and the officer. Moore called the shooting unjustified, saying: “The video speaks for itself.... I stand in solidarity with my clients in the pursuit of justice for Diamon Sims.”
“Yeah, we’re gonna file a lawsuit," said Dunn, agreeing with his co-counsel. "We had a pretty good idea that we had enough to go on but seeing the body cam footage, that pretty much sealed it. We know that this is a situation where Mr. Sims was running away. We know that no shots were fired by Mr. Sims. We know the officer fired multiple rounds in this foot pursuit.”
Reiterating his point, Dunn continued: “It appears to us from what we can see that Mr. Sims was shot in the back. It is not cause to use deadly force just because someone is running away. It is not a justification for lethal force even if a person is running away with a firearm.”
Mayor Mario King also addressed the press, emphasizing that the city has properly adhered to public records requests by releasing the video.