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Here's The First Body Cam Video Released Under the LAPD's New Policy

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In this screenshot from a body camera video released by Los Angeles police, 24-year-old Jose Chavez confronts officers shortly before they rush him. He later died at a hospital. (Screenshot from LAPD video on YouTube)
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The LAPD released its first body camera video Wednesday under a new policy that requires the department to show the public video from shootings and other critical incidents within 45 days. The video, shot on May 6, shows officers in South L.A. shooting non-lethal beanbag shotgun pellets, firing a Taser and finally rushing a man who police said appeared to be under the influence of drugs. Within minutes, Jose Chavez, 24, stops breathing. He later died at a hospital.

At a morning news conference, Chief Charlie Beck said he didn't think the officers' actions caused Chavez' death. He instead suggested drugs played a primary role.

The coroner has not yet released an autopsy; initial toxicology tests were inconclusive and the coroner has ordered more.

Beck said the entire incident lasted more than two hours. The video the department released was edited down to about 10 minutes. At times the video shows a freeze frame and Commander Alan Hamilton, head of the department's force investigation division, provides narration.

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The officers were responding to reports of a man in the street with a brick in his hand. In the video, the first two officers calmly ask the man - Chavez - to get back onto the sidewalk. He initially does, then comes back out and eventually ends up on the porch of a nearby house.

The video shows more officers arriving. As they do, Chavez taunts them at times. At other times he's calm and at one point offers them a flower.

Chavez repeatedly refuses officers' commands to surrender, and at one point arms himself with a metal pipe. The officers eventually fire beanbag pellets at him, and then move in and fire a Taser at him. Chavez runs around the corner of the house, and the officers chase him down and restrain him.

After handcuffing him the officers are seen in the video carrying Chavez to the front yard of the house. Hamilton reappears in the video to say that Chavez' breathing "became labored and eventually stopped." Paramedics on scene transported Chavez to USC Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, Hamilton said.

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Chief Beck said the new video release policy - ordered by the L.A. Police Commission - is a step towards greater transparency and hoped it would help the public better understand police work. But he cautioned against prejudging the officers involved in the incident with Chavez. The commission will consider whether they acted within policy after the department's force investigation division completes its inquiry later this year.

Beck said the department expects to release 40 to 50 videos of body camera video of shootings and other critical incidents each year under the new policy.

"You will see policing at its rawest - video never seen before," said the chief. "Expect extremely horrific video."