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Demand for video after SDPD arrestee reportedly uncuffed himself, opened fire

Posted at 5:15 PM, Jul 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-06 20:15:58-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - On Monday, concerns were raised and the release of police body camera video was requested after San Diego police officers reportedly shot a man on Sunday after they arrested him. Police say he managed to get out of his handcuffs and accessed a police gun after he was left in a patrol vehicle.

On Monday, SDPD Lt. Andra Brown told 10News that officers were called to the Westgate Hotel on Sunday night for a report of a man who threatened security workers. After officers reportedly took in the 25-year-old Hispanic man, they say he slipped out of his cuffs while in the patrol unit.

“It does happen but you know there's a tricky line to walk between having the handcuffs too tight where they can't come off but that also means that they can cause damage to a person that's under arrest and that's not our goal,” said Lt. Brown.

She added that the suspect then reportedly broke a divider in the vehicle and grabbed a backup gun from an officer's gear bag that was in another area of the vehicle, all while he was alone in the vehicle and officers were away to process paperwork. “They were in the area of the vehicle. It's not like they were hundreds of yards away. They do maintain visual contact and there are other officers that are in the area,” she told ABC10 News.

Once officers noticed, police say he fired a least one round after refusing their commands to drop the gun. They report that they fired back and struck him in the torso, but they say he still got out of the car with the gun and ignored their commands. Officers say a police canine then took him down.

Community activist Tasha Williamson said Monday that the suspect should never have been left alone. “It’s not safe for the individual who has been arrested and not safe for the officers who are leaving them in the car with weapons,” she added.

She's been demanding the release of body camera video within 24 hours of the shooting, like police did last week after rounds were fired with a robbery suspect.

A police spokesperson said Monday that the release of the video will take longer in this case but the department is working hard to get it out and hopes to have it released within a couple of days.

“[That’s] not sufficient and what that's telling the public is that when there’s no public outcry, they'll take their time at releasing the video,” added Williamson.

The suspect was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

SDPD is investigating the officer-involved shooting. SDPD says once its investigation is completed, it will be reviewed by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office to determine if the officers bear any criminal liability for their actions. Police say the Internal Affairs Unit will conduct an investigation to determine if there were any policy violations, and the Shooting Review Board will evaluate the tactics used by the officers before the Community Review Board on Police Practices reviews the incident. Police say the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office will also be monitoring the investigation.

The three officers who were involved are on paid administrative leave during the investigation, which is standard protocol.