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Friday, April 8, 2016

Video: Fatal Police Encounter With Homeless Man Took 30 Seconds

Posted By on Fri, Apr 8, 2016 at 12:22 PM


The fatal encounter yesterday between San Francisco police and a homeless man in the Mission District said to be brandishing a kitchen knife — later shot to death by responding police — took no more than 30 seconds from start to finish, video footage shows.

The Chronicle has the exclusive get on the video footage, provided to the newspaper by an anonymous source. The footage shows police firing beanbag rounds at the man, who allegedly threatened a homeless outreach worker with a knife at 10 a.m. near 19th and Shotwell streets, and then using their firearms on him within 30 seconds of exiting their patrol car.

In the below video, you can see three police cruisers arrive at an area with sidewalk tent encampments. The officers advance on a figure off-screen, with beanbag round shotguns raised. Police can be heard yelling to "get on the ground." Soon after that, the firing starts, with screams and shouts from nearby bystanders after the homeless man, still unidentified, is shot.

Mayor Ed Lee has called for an investigation into the shooting to be conducted by the city's Office of Citizen Complaints, which oversees police use-of-force complaints. Two other investigations into the shooting are also underway.

Already, there are conflicting reports of what happened prior to the shooting. Some witnesses told reporters that the man did not have a knife or walked aggressively towards police prior to being shot. 

This is also the second instance in which an apparently-distraught man with a kitchen knife was shot and killed after a brief encounter with police, in which beanbag rounds had no effect.

On Dec. 2, Mario Woods, a 26-year-old black man, was shot and killed in the Bayview while allegedly brandishing a kitchen knife used in an earlier stabbing. Beanbag rounds also failed to subdue Woods.

San Francisco police procedure is supposed to be revamped in the wake of the Woods shooting. Specifically, police procedure when encountered suspects with edged weapons like knives is supposed to be reformed to lessen the likelihood that someone armed with a knife is shot to death by police. However, those reforms have yet to be implemented.
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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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