GREENVILLE CO., SC (WSPA) – Today the family of a man shot by Greenville County Deputies earlier this month saw the video of his death.
That video is expected to be released to the public Wednesday.
But after the family saw it Tuesday, they were shaken, and still not satisfied that 37-year-old Jason Mendez did enough to warrant being shot to death.
A grief stricken mother held back tears as she stood outside the Greenville County Courthouse today, speechless.
“They want to make sure that Jason was not just murdered,” said Bruce Wilson, founder of Fighting Injustice Together, speaking on the family’s behalf.
Moments before, he, Kathy Mendez, her other son Raven Floures, and Mendez’ grandmother, Shelma Grubbs, met with the Greenville County Solicitor to view security video. It was taken the night Mendez was shot by Greenville County Deputies outside the Super Lodge motel on Mauldin Road.
“We still believe that this shooting may not have been justified. We do not see a reason that Jason was shot.”
Wilson says the video does not show Mendez holding up a gun. Still, the Sheriff’s report says a gun was found near Mendez who was wearing a holster. His family says having an illegal gun, and a rap sheet with drug and larceny offenses does not mean he should have been shot.
“He had a rusty exterior but he also had a giant heart,” said Floures.
It was the Super Lodge video that the family saw today, but the Solicitor’s office says that wasn’t the only recording and doesn’t tell the whole picture.
“Just watching the video is just one peace of evidence and then you add the things the officers were saying the things they were vocalizing it certainly makes a much clearer picture as to what was happening that day,” said Solicitor Walt Wilkins.
That audio comes from microphones the deputies were wearing linked to in-car cameras that were not aimed at Mendez.
His family says, there are still more questions than answers.
“This is the last thing I can do for Jason, and if they killed him, then I want his voice to be heard. Because I think if he had a gun and he was threatening, I think he would have pulled it, or it would have been seen on the video,” said Grubbs with tears rolling down her face.
The body of Mendez was just released to the family and now they are making funeral arrangements.
Meanwhile the Solicitor says he will give the family a chance to listen to the audio before releasing that to the public. That won’t happen until next week because of technical issues, and the need to redact the officers’ names as well as take out some information that the Solicitor says won’t be appropriate to release until they complete the analysis. The solicitor says they will submit a conclusion of all the evidence next week.