A lawyer for the family of a Frankford man killed by police in December said Thursday that documents he obtained from the Medical Examiner's Office differ from police accounts on the shooting and "raise questions as to the accuracy and integrity of the police investigation."
Brian Mildenberg, a lawyer for Brandon Tate-Brown's family, released documents that contain some of the earliest reports from officers at the scene of the shooting.
Also Thursday, the head of the city's police oversight panel said he had reviewed surveillance videos of the shooting.
The death of Tate-Brown, 25, shot during a car stop on Frankford Avenue on Dec. 15, has sparked weeks of protests and calls for police and prosecutors to release all evidence gathered in the case.
Police have said that Tate-Brown was pulled over around 2:40 a.m. because he was driving with his headlights off, and that officers noticed a gun in the center console of the vehicle when they approached the car.
A struggle ensued after Tate-Brown was ordered out of the car, police have said, and he broke free of officers and reached for the gun before he was shot.
A Medical Examiner's report time-stamped 3:29 a.m. the day of the shooting and released to the press by Mildenberg says the incident "started out as a standard car stop," with no mention of the headlights being off.
A later report, time-stamped 7:54 a.m., indicates that a homicide detective told the medical examiner that officers asked Tate-Brown to step out of the car after he told them he had rented it, but the car's plates did not match the rental company Tate-Brown had named, according to the document.
Officers then saw a gun in the console, the documents say.
Mildenberg said he and Tate-Brown's mother "respectfully demand that all evidence, videos, and police interviews relating to this case be immediately released for investigation and review."
In an interview Thursday, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said that "bottom line," Tate-Brown was stopped because his headlights were off. The running lights, Ramsey said, were on.
"We have four independent witnesses, all of whom gave statements that are very consistent with the officers," Ramsey said. The officer who shot Tate-Brown has not been interviewed, Ramsey said, which is typical. The department will interview him after the District Attorney's Office concludes its review of the case, which is ongoing.
An internal investigation of the conduct of the two officers who shot Tate-Brown concluded this month that the two had not violated departmental policy. Both were returned to street duty.
On Thursday, Ramsey allowed more people - including Kelvyn Anderson, executive director of the Police Advisory Commission - to view surveillance video and read witness statements.
Anderson said in a statement that "the witness statements consistently describe a protracted struggle between officers and Brandon Tate-Brown that, when viewed alongside the videos, appears to last roughly 3-4 minutes."
In an interview Thursday night, Anderson said that for a physical confrontation to last between police and a civilian for that amount of time, "that's an eternity."
The three videos, he added, do not help to clarify the situation because a lot of the encounter is obstructed from view.
None of the videos show Tate-Brown at the moment he is shot, Anderson said. "I think it would be very difficult, from viewing the video, to say exactly where he was when the shot was fired," Anderson said.
In a police photograph of the vehicle, a bloodstain from where Tate-Brown fell was located on the passenger side of the car not far behind the passenger door, Anderson said.
One witness described part of a verbal exchange: "The officers repeatedly ask where's the gun, and at one point, Brown says it's in the vehicle," Anderson said in the statement.
Anderson said he was shown a photo of "the gun shoved in between the console and the passenger's seat."
On video, the front lights on the vehicle "are very dim" compared to front lights of a passing vehicle, but it was not clear that the rental car had its running lights on rather than full headlights. He stressed that the commission, an independent oversight body, "has reached no formal conclusions or judgments."