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Cincinnati Police release video of officers fatally shooting a man in Covington

woman stands at a podium. to the viewers left is a TV screen showing body camera still video. It shows a house in a neighborhood in Covington.
Tana Weingartner
Interim Cincinnati Police Chief Theresa Theetge speaks Thursday ahead of showing body camera video from Monday's shooting.

Cincinnati Police Thursday released two body camera videos showing officers shooting and killing Ali Coulter, a suspect in a murder investigation. The shooting occurred Monday when the Fugitive Apprehension Squad went to interview Coulter's mother at her house in Covington.

Kentucky State Police are leading the investigation, which they've said could last two weeks. Officer Charles Knapp and Officer Specialist Mark Longworth were interviewed Wednesday by Kentucky authorities, according to Interim Cincinnati Police Chief Theresa Theetge.

Cincinnati Police and the Citizen Complaint Authority are conducting parallel investigations. Interim Cincinnati City Manager John Curp said Cincinnati made the decision to release the videos.

WVXU is choosing not to embed the graphic video. However,it can be seen starting at about the 19 minutes mark in this live stream of the news conference provided by CitiCable. Viewer discretion is advised.

In the videos, which WVXU reporters have viewed, officers enter the yard to the house and walk around the side to the backyard. Coulter is seen on Knapp's video walking in the backyard. He runs when he sees the officer, who is in uniform, and climbs over a fence at the back of the property.

The officers begin chasing Coulter and yelling for him to "drop the gun." Officers do not follow Coulter over the fence. They reverse and run back around the house to intercept him.

They encounter him emerging from the space between two neighboring houses. A gun can be seen in his hand. Officers again yelled for him to drop the weapon. As he continues moving forward, Knapp and Longworth both shoot. It is unclear how many shots were fired or how many hit Coulter.

Coulter falls to the ground in a flower bed. Officers take cover and order him to throw the gun aside. Knapp can be heard saying "Throw the gun away. I'll get you help. Throw the gun away."

Officers then go to Coulter and begin rendering first aid.

Theetge says CPD had six people — a supervisor and five officers — on the scene, all wearing body cameras. Covington police officers were also on the scene. The two videos released so far are from the officers who shot Coulter.

Coulter was a suspect in the murder of Christian Jones last week in East Price Hill. According to Theetge, the officers didn't know Coulter was at his mother's house when they arrived.

Also Thursday, Hamilton County's prosecutor said Youssouf Niangane was indicted for two counts of Aggravated Murder and one count of Aggravated Robbery in connection with the murder of Christian Jones in East Price Hill. That's the murder Coulter was being sought in connection with.

"Evidence obtained during the investigation shows that Niangane and Coulter conspired to rob and kill the victim," a news release states.

Knapp and Longworth are on administrative leave for five days. They must meet with a police psychologist before returning to work.

Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders was livid on social media about Cincinnati's decision to release the videos.

"Release of BWC evidence by CityofCincinnati prejudices our investigation. Its subject of a outstanding Grand Jury subpoena & city was specifically instructed NOT to release BWC. The flagrant &arrogant disregard for KY law & sovereignty obviously starts at the top in Cincinnati!," he tweeted.

He followed up with, "Also... the Cincinnati City Manager blatantly lied to the media. I spoke with his Police Chief and his legal department this morning and my position against premature release of evidence was made abundantly clear."

Interim City Manager Curp had told media during the news conference, "We have been in contact with Kentucky State Police. It's not me directly but others in the administration. It's my understanding that they understood we were releasing the video today and they had no issues with our activity today. I have not talked directly with Mr. Sanders. I did reach out to him yesterday and was not able to communicate with him. So at this time, I don't know exactly what is in his mind."

In response to WVXU's questions about Sanders' tweets, Curp replied with this statement from the city of Cincinnati.

"The City of Cincinnati appreciates its partnership with law enforcement and local prosecutors in all of our neighboring jurisdictions. The community that I serve has high expectations regarding openness and transparency with police involved shootings. This includes the release of bodycam videos. In this instance there was no legal basis to prohibit the disclosure of the videos. The trust our City has built between the community and police is dependent upon transparency and the prompt dissemination of information. We have and will continue to meet those expectations.

"This morning, we marked the 20th anniversary of Cincinnati's Collaborative Agreement. This Administration, which includes the Police Department, will continue to walk forward with the community in this historic partnership."

Both Cincinnati officers Knapp and Longworth have been involved in shootings in the past. Our news partners WCPO reported on that.

Updated: April 14, 2022 at 4:51 PM EDT
This story was updated to include an additional statement from the City of Cincinnati on the release of the body camera videos.
Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.