A blatant example of excessive force has come to light as new video evidence reveals that Greensboro police officer Cpl. Matthew Sletten fatally shot unarmed 17-year-old Nasanto Crenshaw on August 21, 2022. The video clearly shows that the teen was attempting to flee and posed no immediate threat. Despite the harrowing footage, District Attorney Avery Crump has decided that the officer will not face charges in the shooting.
The Greensboro Police Department recently released over 100 videos containing hours of footage from body-worn cameras and dash cameras, documenting the tragic event and its aftermath. Adding insult to unnecessary murder is the fact that it took almost four minutes from the time of the shooting for police to begin administering first aid to Crenshaw.
Attorneys representing Crenshaw’s family, who have been fighting for justice since the incident, released a statement on Tuesday, saying, “District Attorney Avery Crump and the Greensboro Police Department have hidden the truth for long enough, but now that this video is public, it’s undeniable. Even after they have tried to put their spin on it, the facts are clear. Cpl. Sletten’s life was never in any danger.”
“Nasanto Crenshaw was never a threat. He was scared, unarmed, and running for his life when this officer gunned him down and killed him,” the family’s legal team continued.
In response to the incident, Crenshaw’s family has sued the Greensboro Police Department for wrongful death and use of excessive force.
The released videos detail the events leading up to the fatal shooting. Cpl. Sletten initially pulled the white Nissan, which was reported stolen, over on West Market Street. However, the car fled the scene when Sletten exited his patrol vehicle. After locating the Nissan again in a parking lot, three individuals fled from the backseat. As the car backed up and collided with the patrol car, Sletten fired three shots into the Nissan as it drove away. One of those rounds hit Crenshaw and killed him.
Despite District Attorney Crump’s insistence that Sletten acted in self-defense, citing the collision with the patrol car as a threat to the officer’s safety, lawyers for Crenshaw’s family strongly disagree with this interpretation.
The family’s attorneys argue, “The wheels of the car were clearly turned away from Sletten, and he simply wasn’t in the car’s path when he fired the first shot. The front of the car had passed when he fired his second, and the car had passed entirely when he fired the third shot killing Nasanto.”
In a damning statement, they added, “Cpl. Sletten and District Attorney Crump may not know the difference between a passing car and one trying to run you over, but the people do. Prosecutors charge killers every day across America with less evidence than this video, but apparently District Attorney Crump thinks a badge is a license to kill.”
Unfortunately for the Crenshaw family, their attorney is correct. Cpl. Sletten just proved the case that police in America can kill teenagers and walk. While Crenshaw certainly deserved to be held accountable for his actions that night, the poor decisions people make as teenagers should never result in a death sentence. As this case illustrates, however, that is the rule in America, not the exception.
This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.