Police release video of officer shooting at a homeless man who refused to show his hands, used blanket to block taser
Police release video of officer shooting at a homeless man who refused to show his hands, used blanket to block taser

Michael McGough

The Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — New video released by Sacramento police shows officers were confused by a homeless man who concealed his hands during a warrant search before an officer shot shot him in the River District.

The man, 42, survived the July 17 shooting, which took place near the underpass at 16th and A streets, when a pair of officers with the Sacramento Police Department contacted him around 10:30 p.m.

Body camera video from the two officers shows they approached him at a small homeless encampment atop an embankment near 16th Street.

The first approaching officer told the homeless person, who was draped in a blanket, that they’ve “got to talk to (him) real quick about something.” The officer indicated they had met before.

“Remember last time you were like, ‘Cuff up’?” the officer said, video shows. “I just need to put some cuffs on you real quick.”

The man told the officers, “I’m not cuffing up,” and the second officer asked him to follow them to their patrol car.

The man responded, “I’m not doing that.”

A few moments later, the first officer told the man that they needed to talk to him about his “PRCS status,” referring to probation, then asked if he was aware that he “might have a small warrant.” The Police Department in a news release following the shooting said the attempted arrest was for felony probation violation.

After about 30 seconds of arguing about the officers approaching him at night, the homeless man told the officers to “have a nice day” and turned back to his belongings, which were in a covered waste bin, the video shows.

The first officer then pulled out his firearm, video from his body camera shows.

The man can be heard mumbling and saying the word, “shotgun,” before he yanks at the waste bin, spilling several items. His blanket then fell off, at which point he swung it around to the front of his body, hiding his hands from view, and started walking toward the officers.

Both officers slowly retreated backward, while a female bystander began walking away with her back to the homeless man, at one point putting her hands on top of her head.

The officer with the gun called out, “Taser,” but neither officer could be seen in either of their body camera videos drawing one.

The first officer’s taser appeared to stay holstered on his left hip, as he pointed the firearm with his right hand and a flashlight with his left, the second officer’s video shows. It’s unclear whether the second officer ever drew a taser.

The suspect then commanded the two officers to “lay (their) weapons down,” referring to himself as a “federal officer.”

After about 10 seconds of telling the homeless man to stop advancing, the first officer fired two shots at him, striking him at least once.

The man sprung back to his feet almost immediately, shouting back at the officer, “I don’t have a f—ing weapon.”

He then told the officers he was scared, as he began walking down the embankment to the sidewalk of the underpass. The officer who shot him told the suspect several times, “I’m sorry.”

“You’re holding s— on you that looks like a gun,” the officer who shot him said, video shows. “Let me help you.”

The two officers followed the man for a couple of blocks on the 16th Street sidewalk, until another police vehicle approached. The first officer can be heard telling the approaching officers that the suspect is unarmed.

The two original officers and a third officer then cuffed the man, and they begin to apply medical aid for his gunshot wound. Blood can be seen on his back, near his left shoulder blade, video shows.

Police have not released the suspect’s identity. His face is blurred and his name redacted in the video.

No weapons were located on the suspect, the Police Department said in a written news release, and no officers were injured.

The officer-involved shooting is under internal investigation by the department’s homicide unit and its internal affairs unit. The city’s Office of Public Safety Accountability and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office are also “providing oversight by monitoring the investigation,” the Police Department said.

The department said detectives are continuing to identify and retrieve video associated with the incident, which will be released to the public within 30 days of the shooting in accordance with SB 1421 and the Sacramento City Council policy on police use of force.

The incident marked the second police shooting of the month for the Police Department. On July 2, an officer shot and killed 75-year-old Michael Moore, who was holding two kitchen knives as he assaulted his 84-year-old wife inside their South Land Park home.

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