Aurora police release additional footage of officers shooting 14-year-old Jor’Dell Richardson

Tony Gorman/CPR News
Family and friends gather at the Aurora Municipal Center on Friday, June 16, 2023 to remember Jor’Dell Richardson, a 14-year-old robbery suspect fatally shot by Aurora police earlier this month.

The Aurora Police Department released five additional videos on their YouTube page Monday that show different angles of what led up to the killing of 14-year-old Jor'Dell Richardson. Richardson died June 1 after a pair of APD officers chased, tackled and fatally shot him following a suspected robbery. 

Police released officers’ body-worn camera footage earlier this month in response to community pressure. The new footage comes from security cameras installed on nearby buildings. Police described it as additional evidence in an ongoing investigation into the shooting, but they did not say whether they believe video supports the officers’ accounts. 

Three of the videos show the moments after the alleged robbery outside a nearby convenience store. The surveillance cameras capture a group of teenage boys running away from police down the sidewalk of a stripmall, including Richardson, who is wearing a white sweatshirt. He quickly darts down an alley on his own, pursued by officers James Snapp and Roch Gruszeczka.

In another video, neither officers nor Richardson enter the visual frame. Instead, the video’s audio recording captures officers shouting commands at Richardson. Around 54 seconds into the video, a gunshot can be heard.

The fifth video captures the actual shooting. Footage shows Aurora police chasing Richardson down the alleyway, tackling him to the ground and shooting him within a matter of seconds.

As Richardson runs from police, he appears to hold his waistband or pocket with one hand, the footage shows. Police then catch up to and tackle him.

A shadow from a nearby building partially obscures the three subjects as they wrestle on the ground.  One of Richardson’s arms is outstretched and pinned down by an officer. The second officer’s body is on top of Richardson and covers his other arm. 

That is the only video released Monday that shows the teenager die.

Police released the five videos to Richardson’s family late last week. They waited to publish them until Monday to comply with a Colorado regulation that requires law enforcement to wait 72 hours from the family’s first viewing before publicly releasing footage.

Family representatives interpreted the material as evidence that the 14-year-old did not pose a threat to officers. 

"There is no evidence from any of the videos released to date that shows this shooting of a 14-year-old child was justified,” said Siddhartha Rathod, the attorney for Richardson's family. “What the videos do demonstrate is that the Aurora Chief of Police cannot be trusted to be objective.”

Rathod, who also represented the families of Elijah McClain and Christian Glass, has previously said interim-Police Chief Art Acevedo lied to the public when he stated Richardson had a gun. He has demanded a public apology from the department, as the item turned out to be a pellet gun and it’s unclear when officers first saw it.

In a June 9 press conference, Acevedo called the shooting a tragedy. And he asked the community for patience as law enforcement completes its investigation. 

The killing has sparked renewed calls for accountability at the Aurora Police Department. Several investigations are underway, including an APD internal review, as well as an inquiry from the 18th Judicial District. APD is still under a consent decree to improve practices after investigations revealed a pattern of racist policing.

The two officers involved in Richardson’s death are on administrative leave.