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NAACP questions whether Baltimore officer used excessive force when he shot, killed Tyree Moorehead

NAACP questions whether Baltimore officer used excessive force when he shot, killed Tyree Moorehead
NAACP questions whether Baltimore officer used excessive force when he shot, killed Tyree Moorehead 01:30

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People wants to know whether a Baltimore police officer used excessive force when he shot and killed a man in Sandtown-Winchester on Sunday, according to NAACP staff.

The civil rights organization said in a press statement on Wednesday that its staff members had begun gathering information on the shooting of Tyree Moorehead after it was contacted by several members of the community who had concerns about the shooting.

Moorehead was shot by Baltimore police officer Zachary Rutherford on Sunday. Police say that he was wielding a knife and assaulting a woman at the time of the shooting.

Moorehead refused to comply with Rutherford's orders prior to when Rutherford shot Moorehead multiple times, police said.  

He was pronounced dead at a hospital. A makeshift memorial marks the scene where it happened at West Lafayette and North Fulton Avenues in West Baltimore.    

"The life of a community member was lost on Sunday and that is never a situation to be taken lightly," NAACP Criminal Justice and Public Safety Chair Nicole Chang said. "This incident is an opportunity for us to have an open and honest conversation in our community, with BPD and with City leadership about how we can provide the best possible support for loved ones and community members that may be experiencing a mental health crisis and make a real investment in how publicly funded agencies can intervene int he most effective way."  

The Baltimore Police Department made public the body-worn camera footage of the deadly shooting on Tuesday afternoon.

NAACP staff met with the police department and reviewed the footage, according to civil rights organizers. The civil rights organization says although police intervention was necessary it has questions about the use of force involved. 

The NAACP notes that Rutherford shot at Moorhead 14 times and wants to know if that use of force was justified or excessive.

The civil rights organization wants to know if there are resources or programs in place—or that need to be put in place—for people who have a mental health crisis history and need help before they cause harm to themself or to others.

Additionally, the NAACP wants to know if the Baltimore Police Department will implement training or policy changes in the aftermath of the shooting.

The Independent Investigations Division of the Maryland Attorney General's Office has opened an investigation into the deadly police shooting.    

"While the Baltimore NAACP will continue to gather information and conduct our own investigation, we look forward to the investigative findings of the Attorney General's Office and the Baltimore Police Department," the civil rights organization said in its statement.

Moorehead's father told WJZ this week that he has concerns about the officer's actions.

"They shouldn't have shot my son. When they told him to lay down, he did that," Carlton Moorehead said. "That officer shot him repeatedly, and that was not right."  

For years, Tyree Moorehead has worked to stop violence in Baltimore by spray painting "no-shoot zones" across the city. He was killed near the first one he ever painted.  

Rutherford worked as a Baltimore police officer for three years prior to the shooting, according to the Maryland Attorney General's office  

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