The Philadelphia Police Department's rush to provide the public with details on a fatal shooting involving an officer in Mayfair was to blame for a false report that the man was reaching into a car for a handgun, Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said Thursday.
Ramsey said the department was trying to satisfy reporters' thirst for information on last December's shooting of Brandon Tate-Brown as well as the need for a thorough investigation to parse out the facts.
"The first story is one that usually does not have everything down 100 percent in terms of accuracy," Ramsey told reporters after speaking on policing at TEDxPhiladelphia's "And Justice for All" symposium at Temple University's Performing Arts Center.
"We're caught in the middle," he said. "The media's asking, 'What happened, what happened, what happened?' The people want to know. We give you what we have at that moment."
The city released surveillance videos and interview transcripts Tuesday that showed Tate-Brown was running around the back of his car, a few feet from the passenger side, when Officer Nicholas Carrelli fired.
Carrelli told investigators he feared that Tate-Brown, 26, of Frankford, was running to the Dodge Charger rental he had been driving to grab a gun wedged between the front passenger seat and the center console.
He and his partner said Tate-Brown repeatedly disregarded their orders and broke free of their grasp to run back to his car after they pulled him over about 2:45 a.m. Dec. 15 on the 6600 block of Frankford Avenue because the car's headlights were not on.
"As statements are taken, as people begin to be interviewed, witnesses are found, and so forth, sometimes there are slight variations," Ramsey said.
"One thing doesn't change: There was a gun in the car. The officer saw the gun. There was a struggle. There was an attempt to get back to the car. There were witness statements that confirmed that."