A disturbing video, taken on February 22, 2022, shows a Colorado sheriff's deputy in a confrontation with a man named Richard Ward, who was sitting in the backseat of his mother's parked car at a middle school in Pueblo. Ward expressed anxiety about the police, claiming they have mistreated him in the past. The deputy questions him about why he had been seen earlier trying to enter a car that wasn't his, to which Ward explains that he was at the school with his mother to pick up his little brother. He stepped out of his mother's car to take a brief walk and mistakenly thought another car in the lot belonged to his mother and tried to open the door. He told the deputy that he apologized to the woman in the car, and then found his mother's car.
After the deputy asks Ward if he has any weapons, Ward takes out a pocket knife and places it on the car seat. Ward then puts a pill in his mouth.
"What did you just stick in your mouth?" shouts the deputy. He grabs Ward, who says, "It was a pill. Let me go!" The deputy pulls Ward out of the car and throws him on the ground.
As Ward struggles, the deputy yells, "Stop resisting bro!" before firing three shots into Ward's chest.
"What happened?" Ward cries out in fear. He weeps for a few seconds, then stops moving.
"Hey did you just shoot him?" says a voice off-camera.
The officers stand by and don't attempt to resuscitate Ward.
The deputies were later cleared of wrongdoing, but according to the video's description, Ward's mother filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court for the District of Colorado.
From the PoliceActivity YouTube channel:
Ward was with his mother, Kristy Ward Stamp, and her boyfriend to pick up his younger brother from Liberty Point International Middle School, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for Colorado. Pueblo County sheriff's deputies approached Ward after they received a report that he had been opening doors of nearby vehicles in the pickup waiting area, officials have said. Ward stepped out of his mother's SUV for a "brief walk," mistook another white SUV for hers and got in the wrong vehicle, the lawsuit says. He apologized to the woman who was driving after he realized his mistake and returned to his mother's vehicle, the suit says. Pueblo deputy Charles McWhorter arrived on scene and talked to Ward in the backseat of his mother's SUV.
In the body cam video, McWhorter touches Ward's arm and asks him why he's acting strange. Ward responds that cops make him "nervous" and he "has anxiety." Ward explains to the officers that he has had bad encounters with police in Pueblo before. McWhorter then asks for Ward's ID and as he reaches for his identification, Ward slips something in his mouth.
His family attorneys said Ward had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and was prescribed medicine for it. In the body cam video, McWhorter then demands to know what it is and drags Ward to the floor. They tussle on the ground for around 20 seconds. During this time, deputies said to stop resisting multiple times. McWhorter then shot Ward 3-times in the chest. Ward was unarmed. The deputies closed the car door and stood with Ward's body for nearly three minutes until medical assistance arrived. He died on scene. The sheriff's deputies involved in the case were cleared of any criminal charges by the district attorney, following an investigation that found the shooting justified.