Officer Dave Curtis (left) and Officer Jeff Kocab (right) (Tampa Police Department)
Photographer: Tampa Police Department
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
TAMPA - The “dash cam” doesn’t blink, but the roomful of reporters who witnessed the recorded shooting of two Tampa Police officers did -- myself included.
Under a court ruling, a 16-minute video including the murders of Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab was made public Friday. I, along with 15 other journalists who were relieved of cameras, phones and other electronics, was ushered into a screening room at the State Attorney’s office.
The video begins with what appears to be a thoroughly routine traffic stop by Officer Curtis. After questioning the driver, Courtney Brantley and the passenger who identified himself as Dontae Morris, Officer Curtis returns to his car. Several minutes later, Officer Curtis, joined by Jeffrey Kocab approach the passenger side of the red Toyota and order Morris out of the car.
What happens next is beyond shocking.
The video shows Morris get up and stand along the side of the car. Officer Curtis tells him to put his hands behind his back. Without the slightest warning, Morris aims what appears to be an oversized hand gun and in the space of one second, shoots Officer Kocab and then Officer Curtis in the head. One second. Two lives.
In the next second, Dontae Morris has run out of the camera frame.
If there was any question that the driver, Courtney Brantley ran over the leg of one of the officers, this video confirms that she did.
The rest of the video shows dozens of officers arriving at the scene, two of them frantically applied chest compressions to the two officers.
“Come on Dave. Come on Jeff,” still rings in my ears.
The rest of the story we know well. A four day manhunt ends with the arrest of Dontae Morris for the two murders. He has been charged and faces the death penalty.
The tape is available for public viewing only at the State Attorney’s Office in Tampa. No recordings or copies of the video will be made available.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.