PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. (DC News Now) — A lawyer representing the family of a 19-year-old who was shot and killed during a police undercover operation earlier this month is raising questions about police’s actions.
The family of Jaiden Carter and their lawyer, NovaLegalGroup’s Joshua Wilson, shared doorbell camera footage from a neighbor that shows the moments leading up to Carter’s death. However, it cuts off before any shots were fired.
The video showed a man, presumably Carter, entering a vehicle. Then, unmarked police cars surround it. The car then quickly reverses, crashing into a couple of parked vehicles. Notably, the direction in which the car was going was not an exit.
In the video, officers can be heard shouting things including: “hands up,” “do not move,” and “I will shoot you.” That’s when the video the lawyer shows cuts off.
“They’re just looking for justice for Jaden,” Wilson said.
The video doesn’t answer several questions about the operation, which police described as a multi-agency undercover fentanyl operation.
“During that operation, there was an exchange of gunfire,” Deputy Chief Jarad Phelps said in the hours following the shooting on Sept. 1.
The portion of the video shared does not clarify who beyond the four police officers fired shots, nor does it clarify what prompted the officers to open fire.
Despite that, Wilson is criticizing the police response.
“I don’t see any legal justification for them doing that and their actions were reckless from what I can see,” he said.
A police source declined to comment specifically about the family’s lawyer’s concerns, instead citing an ongoing investigation that will reveal more information as it continues. The Arlington County Police Department is taking the lead on it as part of a multi-agency group that reviews police shootings in Northern Virginia.
Wilson had not taken any legal action as of Tuesday.
“We’re still in the fact-finding stage of things,” he said. “So we’re still trying to get as much information as possible. And then once we get all the information that we can, we’re going to use that to make an informed decision as to what our next step is going to be.”