OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Officials are working to separate fact from fiction surrounding the death of an East Alabama man, shot and killed by Opelika police this weekend.
The Chief of Police says the officer was justified in using lethal force because the suspect pulled a gun. However, the suspect's family claimed they had video showing the officer shot an unarmed man. Now, it appears the family's video doesn't exist.
Lee County Commissioner John Harris is helping the deceased suspect's family, but says he will not lie about an alleged video of the incident. Harris says the brother of 56-year-old Bennie Tignor, the man who died, misspoke after Monday's press conference when he said they had video from a neighbor.
Shortly after Monday's Opelika police press conference regarding his brother's death, Bernard Tignor claimed he'd seen video taken by a neighbor showing Opelika Officer Jared Greer shooting his unarmed brother.
"It shows they were fighting, but he did not pull a weapon," Tignor claimed.
After the press conference, Commissioner John Harris said the family was going to show him the video and he would try and share it with the media.
Harris explained that the video did not exist, in his opinion. Harris says the family has pictures taken after their brother was shot, but no video. He believes the victim's brother misspoke out of grief.
Opelika Police Chief John McEachern stands behind the actions of Officer Jared Greer, saying Tignor pulled a small caliber weapon while the men struggled during a traffic stop along Comanchee Drive on Saturday night.
"He only used deadly force when it was needed to defended himself against the immediate threat posed by Mr. Tignor," the chief said during a press conference.
Chief McEachern says he supports his police officer because of the dash cam video that does exist. It is in the hands of the SBI as they conduct their independent investigation and present it to a grand jury. The SBI will not release the video at this time.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Harris claims there are two witnesses who police did not speak with. One of them told him they saw an officer shoot Bennie and the witness claims he was unarmed. Harris claims the police never spoke to those alleged witnesses.
Finally, Harris says none of this confusion would have happened if Opelika police officers were equipped with body cameras. Harris says he will work on that issue.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for more details.