Editor’s Note: Due to its graphic nature, we are not including the full video released by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office’s Independent Investigations Division (IID). Anything footage you see here has been selected so as not to show some moments of the encounter. The full footage released by IID can be found online, but we do advise viewer discretion.
FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — The Maryland Attorney General’s Office released body camera footage showing events that led up to the shooting death of a man by Frederick police officers that took place on March 4.
Members of the Frederick Police Department went to an apartment complex in the 1500 block of N. East St. around 6:20 p.m. that evening looking for Joseph Sherrill, 44, who had an outstanding warrant for a probation violation.
Police Chief Jason Lando said officers went to a unit there where a lady opened the door. The officers went into the apartment and found Sherrill in a closet. Lando said Sherrill pulled a knife and that officers told him to put it down multiple times, but he didn’t. That’s when the police shot him. Lando added that the officers provided medical aid to Sherrill immediately and called for an ambulance, but he died.
The video released Thursday, March 23, begins with a conversation at the door of the apartment. Police can be heard identifying themselves before a woman partially opens the door. As the conversation starts, the woman makes reference to Sherrill being her ex-husband. One officer said someone called to tell them Sherrill was there. The woman said he was not there, the same way he wasn’t there another night when officers came looking for him.
The woman stated that she was sure that the person who called police was Sherrill’s “baby’s mother.” She added that she had a protective order and had “custody of the kid.”
“I’m so sick of her. I’m so sick and tired of all of this bull cr*p,” she told police.
The officer asked if police could come into the apartment. She told him no, stating again that Sherrill was not inside. She said she put him out and that she keeps something in place to block the door in order to keep people out.
The woman provided the police with a description of a car belonging to a woman with whom she claimed Sherrill was running around.
When asked if she would let police enter to make sure Sherrill wasn’t in the apartment, she said she had no pants on, although the officer pointed out she was wearing jeans. She said she was “sick as a dog” in bed before they got there.
Throughout the exchange, the woman was insistent that she was not going to let police into the home. The officer told her if they found out that he was there and that she lied to them, she would be arrested along with Sherrill. At one point she closes the door briefly before reopening it and allowing the officers to enter.
“Joseph, if you’re here, let us know now,” the officer shouts.
As police head into a bedroom, they find Sherrill in the closet. The officer tells him, “Let me see your hands. Come on. Drop the knife.”
Sherrill responds that he won’t as the officer repeats the command. As police back away, Sherrill tells them “You’re gonna have to shoot me.”
The woman steps in. Police try to remove her from the situation. She yells, “Stop touching me! The officers and woman move back to the living area at which point police hold the woman, keeping her out of the any direct line of fire.
Sherrill emerges from the bedroom, stopping in the doorway and taking a drink while police repeat the order to “drop the knife.” Sherill puts down his drink and begins moving towards the living room where he seemed to pick up his pace as police repeat, “Drop the knife!” It’s at that point that gunfire can be heard and Sherill drops to the ground, still moving and groaning. An officer moves towards him, telling someone to get EMS, then moving towards Sherrill to check on him. Officers move in to help him.
The Independent Investigations Division of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office said it still was looking into the circumstances surrounding the deadly shooting.