By: Nate Morris
Late last week, the San Antonio Police Department released the body-camera footage of an officer involved shooting from October that left an unarmed Black teen dead.
Eighteen-year-old Charles Roundtree, Jr. was sitting on a couch at 1AM on October 17, 2018 when Officer Steve Casanova approached the front door after a man on the street told him he was assaulted by a man in the home. Footage shows Officer Casanova opening a screen door and shining his flashlight into the house, asking “what’s up man?”
At no point does Casanova announce he is a police officer.
Roundtree’s friend, Davante Snowden, got up from the couch to confront the man with a gun at his front door, asking “who the fuck is this?”
At this point, less than ten seconds after approaching the door, Officer Casanova reaches between the bars of the steel-grated front door, points his gun toward Snowden and yells “let me see your fucking hands!” Before even finishing the sentence, Casanova fires two shots.
One shot hit Snowden in the buttocks, the other hit Chris Roundtree in the chest while he was still sitting on the couch.
On the body-cam footage and in his official statement, Officer Casanova stated that Snowden pulled a gun on him.
In spite of the fact that Casanova never announced himself as an officer, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus called the officer’s actions “very professional”.
“There was nothing hostile about it,” said McManus of Casanova’s approach to the home, “unfortunately the reaction from the individual with the gun was something he should not have done.”
Reports indicate that neither Snowden nor Roundtree had a gun on their person at the time of the shooting.
The investigation into Officer Casanova is ongoing and Roundtree’s family has filed a lawsuit against the department. Casanova, however, remains on the SAPD force on administrative duty.
The Black Wall Street Times has chosen not to link the video footage of Charles Roundtree Jr.’s death in this article.
Rather, we have included pictures of Charles below. Jason Caldwell, Roundtree’s cousin and best friend described Charles (known to those who loved him as “Chop Chop”) as a loving young father who spent most of his free time with his family.
Caldwell said they planned to grow old and take care of their family together.
Charles’s mother, Patricia Stack, grieved the loss of her son in an interview last October.
“He was full of joy. He lighted up anybody’s world,” Slack said through tears. “He died for nothing. For nothing.”