"Drop that gun, dude. Drop that gun," Flemming says. "Is that a real gun you've got there? Ricardo, I don't want to shoot you if you've got a fake gun in your hand. You hear me? But I will shoot you if that's a real gun."
What happens next is partly obscured by the officers' arms and the walls. Another officer, Jesus Ramos, quickly enters the bedroom with a stun gun. There is a loud bang — police said from the stun gun discharging — a thump, then 16 gunshots.
Police said the officers fired when Richards pointed a fake gun with a laser pointer at the officers. A red dot from a laser pointer can be seen, but it isn't clear whether that comes from the toy pistol or the sight on the stun gun. The officers appear to recoil just before firing. Watch the video below.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO
footage contains strong language and graphic video/images.
"This footage raises more questions than it answers," said Tino Luongo, a lead attorney at The Legal Aid Society. She said Richards seemed to pose no immediate threat to the officers. "Moreover, these officers demonstrate zero knowledge in identifying and handling a situation involving an individual who may be struggling with mental illness."
She likened the case to the death of Deborah Danner, a 66-year-old, mentally ill woman shot to death by a police officer during a similar well-being check last October.
"It's also troubling that in spite of the fact that about 5,000 officers have received training on interacting with mentally ill people, the NYPD has yet to figure out a way to get the trained officers to the scene or simply do not utilize crisis intervention teams as other cities use."
NYPD Chief of Department Carlos Gomez said officers asked Richards 50 times to drop the weapons.
"That's a lot of warnings by both uniformed officers and a friend at the scene," Gomez said.
Richards’ father, Belvett, 61, identified the deceased as a university exchange student from Jamaica, who was studying information technology. He said they last spoke about a month ago, and everything seemed okay with his son.
Belvett has said he believed officers killed his son in cold blood.
"He did not deserve to die this way," he told the Daily News of New York.
The footage was released publicly over the objection of Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, who said she supported the need for transparency but wanted the video withheld until she had completed an investigation into the shooting.
In a note to officers, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said the department was releasing the footage because it was committed to being transparent.
"In the vast majority of these cases, we believe that body-worn camera video will confirm the tremendous restraint exhibited by our officers," he wrote.
The four officers at the scene included Flemming, who fired nine times, and Redmond Murphy, who fired seven times. Another officer, Marco Oliveras, didn't shoot.
In Chicago, footage must be released within 60 days. City Hall had fought the release of video showing a white officer shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times in October 2014.