*I know, here we effin’ go again with the actions of these rogue cops.
In a video that was supposed to remain on lock, but a judge had the good sense and integrity to order exposed, Gardena (CA) police officers are seen fatally wounding an unarmed man.
An LA Times article reports this news, citing the police tried to keep the dashcam footage under wraps.
The ruling to unseal the evidence was made by a federal judge who cited public interest in the recordings as the reason. The city had just settled a $4.7 million lawsuit over the shooting, which happened two years ago.
In the graphic video we see three men being ordered to keep their hands in the air while police aim their weapons at them. The men had been accused to stealing a bike; but this turned out to be an erroneous claim, as the bike actually belonged to the victim’s brother, according to the Times. As two of the men stand with their hands up, a third man, Ricardo Diaz Zeferino, seems confused and shuffles forward with his hands raised but in an uncertain state. But he drops his hands at one point to remove his hat and the cops open fire, and Diaz Zeferino falls to the ground.
The 35-year-old was struck, fatally, eight times. The man standing next to him was also wounded in the gunfire.
Before the judge’s ruling Tuesday, the city of Gardena attempted to prevent the public release of the video.
According to the LA Times:
In unsealing the videos, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson said the public had an interest in seeing the recordings, especially after the city settled a lawsuit over the shooting for $4.7 million. Wilson rejected last ditch efforts by Gardena attorneys, who argued the city had paid the settlement money in the belief that the videos would remain under seal.
“The ‘defendants’ argument backfires here — the fact that they spent the city’s money, presumably derived from taxes, only strengthens the public’s interest in seeing the videos,” Wilson wrote. “Moreover, while the videos are potentially upsetting and disturbing because of the events they depict, they are not overly gory or graphic in a way that would make them a vehicle for improper purposes.”
Gardena Police Chief Ed Medrano released a statement Tuesday evening calling the shooting “tragic for all involved.”
He adds, “We have thoroughly reviewed our response and have initiated new training including the tactical use of cover techniques to slow down fast-moving events.”
And in what many will no doubt construe as adding insult to injury, he elaborates:
“Our police officers are entrusted with sensitive and extremely personal information and we often come in contact with people under tragic situations and at their worst,” he said. “We worry about the implications of this decision and its impact on victims and average citizens who are recorded by the police.”
The officers involved — Christopher Mendez, Christopher Sanderson, and Matthew Toda — did not face charges in the shooting.
SOURCE: LA Times | VIDEO SOURCE: LA Times