A Kansas City police video of officers talking with Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher hours before he killed his girlfriend and took his own life appears to show a cordial encounter in which officers had no cause to suspect he was doing anything other than sleeping in his car — which is not a crime.
The 10-minute dash cam video shows officers approaching Belcher’s black Bentley, which was parked in the 700 bock of Armour Boulevard at 3:05 a.m. last Saturday. The officers were responding to a caller who said a man had been sleeping in the car for about two hours.
The officers tap on the window to awaken Belcher and ask him what was he is doing. The audio does not begin until nearly five minutes into the video. Belcher’s responses are difficult to hear, but he appears to be telling officers he is the rightful owner of the expensive car that had temporary tags.
“It’s nice,” says an officer at the passenger side of the car. “I’m not saying you stole it. I like it, dude, it’s nice. What do you do? Oh, really?”
Police say Belcher told them he was waiting for his girlfriend who lived in the building. One of the officers tells Belcher he should go inside.
“You just need to go upstairs,” the officer says. “We’re trying to cut you a break here.”
Police later said officers asked Belcher to call his girlfriend, and Belcher made a call from his cell phone. A short time later, a woman opened the apartment building door and let Belcher inside. Two women later verified to detectives that Belcher stayed at the apartment until 6:30 a.m., when they woke him. The women told police that Belcher had asked them to wake him so he would not be late for a team meeting that morning.
Belcher, 25, apparently left their apartment and drove to the 5400 block of Crysler Avenue in east Kansas City, where he shared a home with his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, 22, and their 3-month-old daughter.
The couple had a confrontation after he arrived home, and Belcher shot Perkins multiple times.
Belcher then drove to the Chiefs’ practice facility near Arrowhead Stadium, where he talked to general manager Scott Pioli, head coach Romeo Crennel and linebackers coach Gary Gibbs before shooting himself once in the head.
Police later determined that Belcher had been partying in the Power & Light District earlier that evening. There has been speculation that the subsequent violence might have been avoided if police had given Belcher a sobriety test or otherwise detained him when they encountered him sleeping in his car.
But police spokesman Capt. Steve Young said Friday that there was no reason for officers to do either.
“There was no cause for a field test,” Young said. “The responding officers did not smell any alcohol. As you can see, there is no stumbling, there is no slurring. You need pieces in place to give a field sobriety test. You need indications.”
Despite the remark about cutting Belcher a break, Young said the officers did not show him any special treatment. Sleeping in your car is not illegal, but the officers wanted Belcher to go inside, because he didn’t need to be there and otherwise there might be further calls to police.
Young added that even if Belcher had been arrested, he typically would have bonded out within 45 minutes or so.
“And then you’re not even at 4 o’clock yet,” he said.
Police also on Friday released video and audio of officers responding to the reported shooting at Arrowhead Stadium.
An officer can be heard confirming that a player for the Chiefs was involved. Another officer says he had not heard of Belcher.