Crime

Report describes assault case against JaQuavion Slaton before police fatally shot him

A woman called police in Tyler on April 28 and told an officer that JaQuavion Slaton would not leave her apartment and that he had a gun.

Sgt. O. Morales responded and walked up to the apartment with her weapon drawn just in time to see a man running away, according to a police report obtained by the Star-Telegram through a public records request. Morales yelled at the man twice, saying “UTPD, [University of Texas at Tyler Police Department] stop,” before seeing the suspect squeeze through a perimeter fence and run east on University Boulevard.

The woman who called police was crying and shaking, and told Morales that Slaton had punched her several times on her back. Morales took pictures of red marks on her neck, arms and back and was told that another officer would perform additional patrols around the apartment that night.

The prior statements are recorded on the unredacted pages of the aggravated assault case report written by University of Texas at Tyler police officers. The Tyler warrant for his arrest is at least one of the documents that triggered the manhunt for Slaton that ended with his death.

Officer-involved shooting

Less than two months later, Fort Worth police would tell officers at UT Tyler that Slaton had been fatally wounded, and the warrant for his arrest was removed from the computer system. The case was then closed by the Tyler department, police said.

Slaton, 20, hid in the cab of a flatbed truck in Fort Worth on June 9 as at least seven officers canvassed the area surrounding the 5200 block of East Berry Street searching for him. Slaton was carrying a handgun, police said.

Slaton suffered seven gunshot wounds, six of which were fired by three officers, and another that Slaton fired himself into the right side of his head, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office has said. A preliminary autopsy report didn’t determine whether the self-inflicted wound was intentional or accidental.

In body camera videos released by the Fort Worth Police Department, several officers are seen walking by the truck — one stood next to it for at least two minutes before an officer realized that Slaton was hiding on the floorboard.

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Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price takes questions from the media following the release of police body camera footage of the fatal shooting of 20-year-old JaQuavion Slaton. Slaton was shot by police following a chase on Sunday, June 9, 2019. The shooting sparked protests from the community and a call for transparency. Amanda McCoy amccoy@star-telegram.com

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram asked experts in the field of policing and the use of force to review the decisions police made leading up to the shooting. Four experts who looked at the footage of the June 9 shooting stated that the officers used questionable tactics that put themselves in danger.

Assault case

After the assault call, police placed a picture and a description of Slaton on the UT Tyler Police Facebook page that described him as armed and dangerous. Police interviewed the victim, who is not being identified because she is a witness, a second time on April 29.

The victim said she met Slaton on Snapchat about five months earlier and they started dating. But the last two months of the relationship had become strained. In January Slaton took out a handgun during an argument and punched her in the face and then trapped her in the bedroom for an extended period of time, she told police.

The victim also stated that Slaton took out a gun from a red waist pack, or “fanny pack” and hit her twice with the butt end of the gun.

After she was released, the victim got out of the apartment and reported the incident to police.

Slaton called police and denied assault took place

About 5 p.m. on May 2 Tyler police received a call from a man who identified himself as Slaton. Slaton said he left the apartment on April 28 and was confronted by a man helping another resident move while he was in the hallway. The man was complaining about the argument Slaton and the victim were having.

Slaton went back into the apartment and the woman was holding a knife, he told police. Slaton said the victim embellished the extent of her injuries to her family and friends who he reported “were out to get him.”

Slaton told police that he had a video of the events that would “exonerate him.” Police said they never received the video.

Another man who claimed to be in the apartment on April 28 told police that the victim and Slaton were arguing that day about Slaton entertaining other women and her finding a soiled prophylactic. The man said he did not hear any noise that indicated that anyone had been assaulted.

Another man told police he heard the victim and Slaton argue on April 28 and saw the victim following him asking Slaton to give her keys back. When it looked as though the argument might become physical, the witness said he told Slaton that whatever was going on was not worth getting that upset over and that he needed to settle down.

The witness also stated that he would not have not allowed Slaton to become physical with anyone while he had been around.

The witness said later that when he saw a police officer approach, Slaton bolted past him down an opposite set of exterior stairs in what appeared to be an attempt to avoid police.

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