Real Cops Discuss Their Most Terrifying Moments Caught On Body Cam
“You can hear it [on the body cam footage]. You’re breathing heavy; your heart is racing. Because it’s called adrenaline. And there is nothing you can do about it,” Sergeant White says. “It’s not like in the movies.”
In July 2017, Uniontown, Ohio, police Sergeant David White responded to a domestic dispute. Within minutes, Sgt. White was in a dark basement fighting for his life as a suspect shot him four times at point-blank range.
The dramatic scene was captured on his body cameras, and is featured in the premiere episode of the new Investigation Discovery series Body Cam.
Described by the network as “a raw and intense look at life and death on the frontlines of law enforcement,” the series takes viewers on the “ultimate ride-along” as they view the life-or-death, split-second decisions that those in law enforcement are forced to make on a daily basis.
Sgt. White opened up to CrimeFeed about the moment when he tried to disarm a dangerous suspect.
Body camera video shows people running from the house when officers arrived, and a man can be heard screaming, “He’s got a gun, he’s got a gun!” The officers entered the home, and a few minutes later, White saw the suspect, 28-year-old Ryan Probst, in the garage on a motorcycle. Probst was holding a rifle.
White ordered him not to move, and when Probst did not comply, White attempted to tase him. But then Probst shot White multiple times. Officers fired back, and Probst was killed.
The aftermath, including White's partner providing first aid and calling emergency medical services, is all caught on camera.
“You can hear it [on the body cam footage]. You’re breathing heavy; your heart is racing. Because it’s called adrenaline. And there is nothing you can do about it,” White says. “It’s not like in the movies.”
White, who has years of experience instructing other law-enforcement officers in both firearms and Taser use, said that this incident shows that even for experienced officers, it can be extremely difficult to disable a suspect.
On the night of the domestic incident, Sgt. White was carrying both a gun and a Taser. “I’m a big fan of the Taser. I think it’s fantastic. But it doesn’t always work,” he said.
Whether or not a weapon will work and how a suspect responds depends, according to Sgt. White, “a lot on what their mental state is. It’s an electrical device that disrupts the nervous system.
"It's not like in the movies," White states. “If I try to just shoot a leg or a knee or an arm, you can very easily miss.”
Sgt. White says that he hopes that the new series will educate the public on the dangerous situations that police officers face every day. “Police officers are here for our citizens and we’re here for the general public,” he said.
For Glendale Patrol Officer Josh Hilling, whose story is also told in the premiere episode, a routine traffic stop on I-75 turned into a life-threatening situation within seconds.
“I was just getting ready to get off the highway to get some lunch, when I saw a man walking on the side of the road,” Hilling told CrimeFeed. “This is illegal in the state of Ohio, but I wasn’t worried about that. I was more worried about whether he needed help in any way, if his car was broken down, or he needed a ride somewhere.”
So Hilling pulled over and started to question the man, who was later identified as Javier Aleman. At first, the body cam footage shows Aleman attempting to struggle to remember – and spell – his name. His answers subsequently become more and more bizarre.
“Things started to feel a little ‘off,’ which raised a few red flags for me,” Hillman said.
Hilling decided to put Aleman into his cruiser to get him off the road. “I wanted to pat him down first, for my officer safety,” he said. “That’s when he turned around and pulled a knife on me.”
The suspect can be seen on camera advancing toward Hilling with a large knife, screaming “Kill me!” and ignoring commands to stop. Hillman opened fire, striking Aleman several times. He then called for backup.
“I reacted,” he said. “I kept thinking, ‘I pulled over to help someone. How did this happen so fast?’”
A second officer who arrived on the scene was able to help subdue Aleman. It was later learned that Aleman, who survived the encounter, was wanted in Maryland on charges related to a killing there.
He pleaded guilty to felonious assault and is serving an 11-year sentence at the Warren County Correctional Institution.
Hilling was awarded for his bravery, particularly his attempt to deescalate the situation even after Aleman produced the knife.
“Whatever you may see on the news, the majority of police officers go through an entire career without ever firing a weapon at a human being or even pulling it out of their holsters,” Hillman said.
“It happens extremely fast; you have to make a decision within a matter of seconds, and that decision could cost you your life,” Hilling says. “I think the body cam video shows the anxiety and fear that we feel.”
He said that, as a younger officer, he has used body cameras and dash cams since the beginning of his career and believes that they are a good thing, both for the officers and the citizens who have encounters with them.
“A body cam gives you the story from start to end of what happened instead of getting bits and pieces or different angles from someone who turned a cell phone on,” he said.
“It’s a very positive tool for law enforcement.”
Watch the premiere episode of Body Cam on Tuesday, November 27 at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery!