Video taken from the scene of a fatal shooting involving both Long Beach police and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials contradict authorities’ argument that the victim posed a threat, L.A. Weekly reported on Tuesday.
The victim, identified as 36-year-old Jason Conoscenti, was shot and killed on Sunday while trying to escape police. The encounter began after Conoscenti allegedly got into a fight with security personnel at a department store in Compton.
Conoscenti allegedly pulled out a pair of scissors before leaving the scene in a white SUV. The Long Beach Press-Telegram reported that, during the ensuing 15-minute chase, Conoscenti allegedly kept driving within the speed limit and obeying traffic regulations.
The video, shot from what appears to be a terrace in the apartment complex where the chase ended, shows Conoscenti exit the vehicle and run down a stairwell leading to the beach, chased by a police K-9 officer.
“Deputies utilized less than lethal force by deploying a stunt bag. The stunt bag had no effect on the suspect, and he again ran from deputies,” a statement from sheriff’s officials read. “The suspect then encountered Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) officers, who were assisting on the containment, and a LBPD officer-involved shooting occurred.”
However, no officers are visible as Conoscenti makes his way down the stairs. Instead, the video shows him being shot multiple times and collapsing at the foot of the stairwell. A separate statement from Long Beach police said those officers were on the beach “east of the foot of the stairs with an obstructed view due to palm trees and shrubbery,” and thought he had been firing toward the sheriffs officials.
“The officers shouted verbal commands multiple times, as the suspect continued down the stairs,” the police statement read. “The suspect failed to surrender and after officers observed him reaching for his waist band, an officer involved shooting occurred.”
But the video does not actually show Conoscenti reaching for his waist; both of his hands are seen gripping the handrails on the stairway before he falls to the ground. The footage also revealed that, despite laying on the ground with his arms stretched away from his body and no sign of a weapon, officials take more than a minute before they approach him.
Watch the footage, as posted online, below.
[Image: "Policeman Aiming A Pistol Hidden Door," via Shutterstock]