Newly-released footage undermines Fresno police’s claims regarding the shooting death of a 40-year-old mentally-ill man last September.
According to the Fresno Bee, the video captures the moments leading up to the shooting of Freddy Centeno by Officers Felipe Miguel Lucero and Zebulon Price.
The footage, taken from the officers’ body cameras, shows them approach Centeno and yell, “Get on the ground” for three seconds before opening fire from about 15 feet away. The officers shot nine times at Centeno, seven of which connected. Centeno is seen falling to the ground, at which point the officers order him to put his hands up.
The victim fell into a coma and died three weeks after the incident, which prompted local protests. Deputy Chief Robert Nevarez said at the time that “Officers commanded [Centeno] to raise his hands, and he grabbed for the object in his right front pocket and raised it towards them,” but that claim is not corroborated by the footage, as Centeno’s hands remained close to his side.
The object, which police believed to be a gun, was in fact a garden hose nozzle.
The Bee also reported that the two officers were not made aware of the fact that Centeno, who lived with family members at the time of his death, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. They were responding to a resident’s report that a shirtless man identified himself as a federal agent and threatened her with a gun.
The family subsequently sued the department, but did not ask for a specific damages account, and is instead asking jurors to determine an award for damages on their own. The video was released on Thursday by attorneys for Centeno’s relatives.
“I’ve been a civil rights attorney for 29 years, and I’ve never seen a police shooting this bad,” said one of the attorneys, Humberto Guizar.
Watch footage of the encounter, as posted by the Bee, below. Note: This video is graphic in nature.
[h/t The Free Thought Project]