BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — A grey vehicle in a driveway on Lower Street in Bay Minette, that’s where Otis French Jr., 32, was pulled over for a traffic stop for a faulty blinker. It is the same yard where he would eventually lose his life.
“It’s a really tough thing to know that this family is grieving and we’re trying to figure out why,” says Lt. Andre Reid, who heads the Major Crimes Task Force investigating the officer-involved shooting. “We want to know how it ended up there, how did this happen and why this happened, what the background is and how we move forward from this.”
What they believe happened so far: the officer, who has not been identified, was pushed to the ground after the traffic stop. French ran away, and the officer caught up with him and used his taser but it was not effective. The two get into another physical fight and French gets the taser and uses it on the officer multiple times. That’s when the officer shot him.
“Having someone get the taser certainly poses a huge problem for that officer if he were to become incapacitated with a firearm, his vehicle is out there with other firearms so, it’s really a dangerous situation,” says Reid.
The task force investigating the shooting is made up of investigators from several different agencies across the county. Reid says the investigation won’t be quick but it will be thorough.
“Between recovered shell casings and how many rounds were actually fired from the officer’s weapon, body camera footage, witnesses, you name it. There actually may be another source of video out there. We have to review those things and come back with a definitive answer.”
Once the investigation is complete, the case will be reviewed by a grand jury to determine if criminal charges are warranted.