In a newly released video, Gardena, California, police can be seen firing on an unarmed man after he removed his baseball cap.
Police had fought to keep video of the 2013 incident, recorded by cameras mounted in two patrol cars, under wraps. But on Tuesday, a federal judge ordered that the footage be released to the public, The Los Angeles Times reports.
In the video, officers can be seen approaching three men. They shout, “Get your hands up!” Two of the men comply, but the third, 35-year-old Ricardo Diaz Zeferino, seems confused by the instructions, raising and lowering his hands repeatedly and taking a few steps towards the officers.
At first, they just keep a laser pointer from a gun trained on his chest. However, when Diaz Zeferino moves to take off his hat, they open fire. He falls to the ground along with one of the other men, who was also wounded in the gunfire. Diaz Zeferino was killed.
The shooting occurred after officers responded to reports of a bicycle being stolen outside a CVS drugstore. They were mistakenly told the incident was a robbery, which indicates that weapons or force were involved.
Gardena Police Chief Ed Medrano said in a statement late Tuesday that the shooting was “tragic for all involved.”
In May, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office concluded that the officers “acted in lawful self-defense and defense of others,” declining to file criminal charges. The officers have said they thought that Diaz Zeferino was reaching for a gun.
But Gardena officials ended up settling a civil lawsuit over the shooting for $4.7 million.
While the city argued that Diaz Zeferino repeatedly ignored officers’ commands, an attorney for the man’s family, R. Samuel Paz, told the Times the video proves that he was never a threat.
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