NEW ORLEANS — Video from a city crime camera refutes claims from an alleged eyewitness that a New Orleans police officer was trying to run a yellow light when he hit and killed a bicyclist in Algiers last month.
Carl Odoms died after the crash that happened about 9:45 p.m. on Aug. 27 at Gen. De Gaulle Drive and Westbend Parkway.
Traffic on General DeGaulle, heading toward the Crescent City Connection, had a green light. The video shows Odoms, who was on Westbend Parkway, run a red light.
Officer Derrick Williams’ marked NOPD unit then enters the frame on DeGaulle.
The NOPD released the full video of the crash, which shows Williams’ brake lights were on when the crash happened.
Warning: Video shows right up onto crash point. May be disturbing
The video refutes claims that Odoms was trying to run a yellow light or that Odoms was not in the street when he was hit.
“Officer Williams was required to submit to a drug and alcohol test,” Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said when he released the video. “The test determined Officer Williams was not impaired at that time.”
Ferguson said there’s also no evidence Williams was speeding or was distracted while he drove.
He said Williams, who was headed to his shift when the crash happened, immediately stopped after he hit Odoms and used his radio to call for an ambulance.
A second video from a nearby police cruiser shown to local media showed Williams had a green light and appeared to try to stop when he hit Odoms.
“That night, he (Williams) mentioned that he had never, ever used his duty weapon for anything,” Ferguson said. “And to be involved with something like this where someone has lost their life has truly astonished him. He is hurt.”
Williams has been on desk duty since the crash, Ferguson said, for his own mental health.
Additional information, such as a toxicology report on Odoms, will be required before a final report is written.
Clarence Johnson, Odom’s brother-in-law, said the family has seen the video and they are not mad at the officer.
Johnson described the situation as a “pure and simple accident.”
The woman who claimed she saw the accident did not return a call Friday seeking comment.
Meanwhile, the NOPD said it’s expanding its policy about releasing videos.
Ferguson said the department will now release video any time an officer is involved in any sort of death, not just incidents such as shootings.