x
Breaking News
More () »

'I ain't have no gun,' Antronie Scott says after being shot in SAPD video from newly settled lawsuit

In the video from former San Antonio police officer John Lee's patrol SUV, Antronie Scott had the chance to tell Lee he was unarmed. By then, Scott already was shot.

SAN ANTONIO — On the evening when former San Antonio Police officer John Lee shot and killed Antronie Scott, Police Chief William McManus said the shooting was not visible.

Still, as McManus spoke to the media on February 4, 2016, he said he could hear the deadly shooting.

"We actually watched or listened to it on COBAN because it's out of the range of the camera," McManus said. "The officer says, 'Show me your hands,' and very quickly -- and then almost before he can finish saying it -- one shot is fired."

Scott was under surveillance by SAPD's Repeat Offenders Program (ROP) detectives. The 36-year-old was on the verge of being arrested for drug and weapon warrants. They had followed his white Mercedes to an apartment complex at 10362 Sahara Street.

Per SAPD protocol, Lee was to come in and make the arrest with other uniformed officers. But the execution of the arrest took a deadly turn.

McManus told reporters that Scott spun out of his vehicle in a way that caused Lee to fear for his life. Lee said he thought Scott's cell phone was a gun.

Lee later was cleared of criminal responsibility for the shooting and was returned to police duty.

SAPD was starting to implement body cameras that month, so the entire force did not have one. They did have mobile COBAN cameras in their vehicles.

KENS 5 requested the patrol car video from the San Antonio Police Department and the Bexar County District Attorney's Office. Neither would provide the video, and they received legal backing from the Texas Attorney General's Office. 

City of San Antonio letter regarding KENS 5 information request in Antronie Scott case

Police cruiser video

Before the City of San Antonio decided to settle a wrongful death lawsuit, KENS 5 obtained Lee's police cruiser video and confirmed its authenticity. The released clip is more than an hour long. But the conflict involving Lee was instant when the officer drove into the apartment parking lot behind Scott's car.

Lee: Let me see your hand. (Gunshot)

Scott: Ow!! Oh! I ain't have no gun.

Lee: F**k! Shots fired! Shots fired!"

According to the video, Scott's wife, Elena, was in the passenger's seat when the shooting happened. She emerged in shock, saying, "Oh my God."

ROP detectives moved in to assist. Lee's backup officer, who did not fire a weapon, tried to keep Elena corralled. Meanwhile, Lee talked to Scott as he tried to stay alive.

Lee: Why would you pull out a gun with us like that! Start EMS! Start EMS! I wish you hadn't come out like that, brother. 

In unreleased portions from an interview with former Bexar County Nico LaHood, who cleared Lee, he shared what happened.

"Officer Lee was patrolling in the area and he had no idea what they were doing," LaHood said. "He responds to the call. They give him instruction. They told him which car should have been getting. He had not looked at the layout of the apartment complex. He knew nothing about the suspect other than he had warrants."

LaHood exercised his right as a district attorney not to put the case before a grand jury. He said there was no criminal responsibility.

"And when I ultimately evaluated all the evidence in the full investigation, I didn't believe it was appropriate to even present to a grand jury," he said. "Because I believe that Mr. Lee had done nothing wrong with intent."

Scott's wife got her first look at her husband's declining condition in the video.

Scott's wife: Can I touch him, please?

Lee: Stay right over there, ma'am.  

Scott's wife: (Sees him on the ground) Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!

LaHood said the detectives put Lee in a challenging position to arrest Scott.

"And you could hear over the radio as he was coming around the parking lot. They screwed up, in my humble opinion," LaHood said. "And they--- he went past them (Scott and his wife), and they (detectives) said, 'Stop! Stop! Stop!' So, he ended up stopping and put himself in a perpendicular, which is not a tactically advantageous position to be in."  

A source who reviewed the case said Lee had been waiting at Marty's Sports near East Ramsey to get instructions from detectives. The source said that Lee's vehicle stopped behind Scott much closer than SAPD advises in high-risk traffic stops, especially felonies. But the source said police have latitude depending on the terrain. According to the source, Lee was well within that.

The officer continued on the video with Scott still clinging to life.

Lee: Stay with us, buddy. Stay with us. They're coming, buddy. They're coming.

The source said police recovered 17 small bags of cocaine from Scott the day he died. That did not stop outrage over the shooting. A local tabloid contemplated publishing the names and addresses of all San Antonio police in response to Scott's death.

At the time, the ACLU of Texas said:

"While we still don't have all the details of Thursday night's tragedy in San Antonio, what we do know is that Antronie Scott posed no threat to Officer Lee in the moments before his life was senselessly ended. Law enforcement agencies in Texas and across the country have some serious soul-searching to do. It's not enough to insist on body cameras, training, and a revision of use-of-force policies. What's required is a sea change in a law enforcement culture that shoots first and asks questions later. The execution of unarmed men of color is a tragically routine trend in American policing that has absolutely got to stop."

SAPD severed employment with Lee for an unrelated reason in February 2020. Five months later, the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office said the 41-year-old died of a toxic combination of prescription drugs.

Fighting the wrongful death lawsuit without Lee became part of why San Antonio settled the suit for $450,000 after six years and approximately $250,000 in legal fees, City Attorney Andy Segovia said.

"A number of factors are considered when deciding whether to settle a case," he said. "Officer Lee's passing was one of the factors considered."

Segovia also said the process to get to trial was lengthy, and the parties settled on the eve of the trial, which is not unusual. 

"This settlement is in the best interest of the City and the community. By settling, we avoid what could be a lengthy trial and appeal process and allow all parties to move forward," he said.

Paid Advertisement