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16-year-old's shooting death prompts police body camera debate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 16-year-old who was shot and killed Thursday night by Jacksonville Sheriff's Office deputies tried to run an officer over in a stolen car and then flashed a gun during a car chase and foot pursuit, police said.

They said the choice to use deadly force was a split-second decision, but community activists said there would be no question about what happened, if JSO officers had body cameras.

Even though police said Kendre Alston flashed a gun, community activist Diallo Sekou is skeptical about what really happened. He said body cameras on police would leave nothing to question.

"It brings in a little transparency and responsibility with the sheriff's department which allows the public to see what it is that they were dealing with directly. That's what we are fighting for," Sekou said.

Sekou said he hopes that the city's next sheriff will outfit officers with body cameras, but the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has cited budgetary concerns in the past, saying that the cameras would cost the city thousands of dollars.

Police pointed out that in the fatal shooting of Alston, the officer claimed that he had no other choice than to fire after Alston and his passenger allegedly tried to ram the officer with their car, then after crashing the vehicle tried to escape on foot.

"As the driver exited the vehicle, the driver had a handgun in his left hand, the driver pointed at the Sgt. Nobles briefly and ran through the yards on Helena street," said JSO chief of investigations Mike Bruno.

For now, the debate on body cameras will have to wait as Jacksonville looks to elect a new sheriff in March.