***WARNING: THE VIDEO IS CONSIDERED GRAPHIC***
(LEX 18) — The Lexington Police Department released body camera video of a collision involving a police cruiser that hit a teen with autism.
LEX 18 filed an open records request on Thursday seeking to obtain information about the incident on March 30, including the names of the officers called to the scene, any and all body camera footage, and the audio of the initial 911 call. Late Friday evening, the Lexington Police Department released carefully edited body camera video showing two different perspectives on the incident: one from an officer on the ground and one from the officer who hit the suspect.
Lexington police say it started when officers responded to a call about a welfare check. The teen involved, 19-year-old Liam Long, returned to a business in the Gardenside area where he was asked not to return after threatening a customer and manager.
Sergeant Donnel Gordon, a spokesperson for the Lexington Police Department, said a social worker called E911 to report that the teen. was having a mental health crisis. That 911 call was provided by the Lexington Police Department.
When officers arrived, Long left the business. Officers later found long on Maywick Drive near Vicksburg Road where he acted erratically and hostile towards officers.
The officers recognized that he appeared to be having a mental health crisis and reported Long was uncooperative and fled the area after threatening to kill the officers.
Later, officers responded on Larkspur Drive at the request of Long's caseworker. Long threatened his caseworker and when Officer Caleb Wade arrived, he made contact with Long in a parking lot on Larkspur Drive.
Officer Wade told Long to drop the knife and tried to de-escalate the situation. Long then turned around and ran toward a fence. When Long fled, Officer Wade told him to stop.
Long ran across the road where he was hit by Officer Nicolas Gray's cruiser. Police say he ultimately sustained non-life-threatening but serious injuries.
Prior to the video's release Friday evening, Long's family opened up a city council meeting Thursday night by pleading for answers.
"We don't want to place blame on anybody," said Elizabeth Long. "We just want to figure out what happened because a response to a mental health crisis should never lead to injuries like those that Liam sustained."
Chief Lawrence Weathers appeared at the virtual meeting Thursday and apologized to Long and his family, but he said the review into the incident does not rise to the level of being a criminal matter.