OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Opelika's Police Chief says based on dashcam video of a fatal officer-involved shooting, he believes his officer was justified in using deadly force.
However, the family of the 56-year-old victim Bernardo Tigner said they have their own video and it shows their loved one did not pull a weapon.
Chief John McEachern is standing behind Officer Jared Greer, saying the officer of three and half years was justified in killing Tigner after he resisted arrest and pulled a small caliber pistol during a weekend traffic stop.
He says Officer Greer tried to conduct a traffic stop beginning on Williamson Avenue. The Chief says Officer Greer activated his lights and sirens, but Tigner kept driving for a few minutes until he pulled into a private drive off of Comanchee Drive and attempted to go into a private residence.
Chief McEachern says Officer Greer tried to stop him and put him under arrest.
"At some point during the struggle Mr. Tigner brandished a small caliber pistol. Officer Greer fearing for his safety drew his department-issued weapon and fired multiple rounds at Mr. Tigner. Based on preliminary review of the facts in the case, I believe the actions of Officer Greer were clearly justified Under Alabama Law. He only used deadly force when it was needed dot defended himself against the immediate threat posed by Mr. Tigner," Chief McEachern said.
Chief McEachern says dashcam video of Saturday night's shooting is in the hands of the State Bureau of Investigation, who is conducting their independent investigation into the shooting off of Comanchee Drive. He says it will be up to the SBI to determine if and when the dash cam video is released.
Meanwhile, Tigner's brother says a neighbor recorded the incident on their cell phone. He tells News Leader 9 he saw the video on Sunday and the video does not show his brother pulling a weapon. He says he has not handed the video over to investigators.
"It shows they were fighting, but he did not pull a weapon," he said.
Tigner's brother says the family will release the video as soon as they speak with an attorney.
Chief McEachern says Tignor has an extensive criminal history. He's been arrested 20 times on various charges, including assault, domestic violence, menacing, weapon related offenses and several DUI's.
We will keep you updated on any new developments.