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Richmond, Va., Police Chief Defends Fatal Shooting of Black Man

Police in Richmond, Va., are defending the shooting death this week of a 24-year-old Black high school teacher who they say eluded them in at least two hit-and-run incidents before emerging naked from his crashed vehicle.

Authorities said Marcus-David Peters was observed striking another vehicle with his sedan at the intersection of W. Franklin and N. Belvidere Streets before fleeing the scene, the local CBS News affiliate reported.

A Richmond police officer pursued Peters to an I-95 on-ramp, where he lost control and struck two other vehicles before exiting his disabled vehicle and running naked into the northbound lanes of I-95, the CBS affiliate reported.

Peters then returned to the on-ramp and charged the officer, who unsuccessfully attempted to subdue him with a stun gun, authorities said. The officer then fired his service weapon, wounding an unarmed Peters.

Peters, a VCU honors student who taught biology in Essex High School in Tappahannock, died early Wednesday.

The officer, 10-year veteran Michael Nyantaky, who also is Black, was placed on administrative leave.

Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said in a statement that Peters was still a potential threat despite being unarmed and naked.

“We are all deeply affected by what happened here — by the loss of life,” Durham said. “Our officers do not take the use of deadly force lightly. I think it’s important to remember that being naked does not remove a threat. So far, the eyewitness accounts we’ve heard have been consistent: our officer tried using verbal commands, then used nonlethal force first by deploying his Taser before using his service weapon.”

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