Police body cam footage of two cops fatally shooting an unarmed mentally ill man in Fresno, California, on Sept. 3, 2015 was publicly released on March 24, 2016 (video below).
The officers were identified as Zebulon Price and Felipe Miguel Lucero in a lawsuit by the family of the man, Freddy Centeno, against the Fresno Police Department, notes The Fresno Bee.
Both of the officers' body cameras were rolling at the time of the shooting and were synced in the split screen video, which was released by Centeno's family and their lawyers.
The police were originally called to the scene by an unidentified woman who said that a shirtless man had been threatening her with a gun.
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In the video, the officers pull their guns, yell at the 40-year-old Centeno to "get on the ground" and begin shooting, all of which takes place in about four to five seconds.
After the officers shoot Centeno, he falls to the ground and the cops scream at him to put his hands up, which he does not appear able to do as he has been hit seven times out of nine shots.
Centeno lay in a coma for weeks before dying on Sept. 26, 2015.
Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer held a press conference on March 24, 2016, and said the cops were more than justified in their shooting, notes ABC 30.
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Slowing the video down frame-by-frame, Dyer said the video showed Centeno reaching in a pocket for a black spray nozzle "which clearly appears to be a handgun, and then the next one, and he begins to raise it, and that's when the officers feared for their life and fired their weapons."
Dyer pointed to a shadowy object in the video to illustrate his point.
However, "video cameras do not see or focus as effectively as the human eye," according to the book, The Science of Crime Scenes.
The human eye is much more complex than a camera, so what the police officers actually saw with their own eyes and what the body cameras recorded in the shadowy video are very likely not the same in detail, as Dyer tried to claim by pointing at the video during his press conference.
"I’ve been a civil rights attorney for 29 years, and I’ve never seen a police shooting this bad," Humberto Guizar, the lawyer for Centeno's family, said.
“Say he threatened someone with a machine gun, is it OK to gun him down like a dog?” Guizar added. “We are not in a war zone; Fresno is a nice community.”
Lt. Mark Salazar said at the time of the shooting that the police department knew about Centeno’s mental illness from prior incidents, but Price and Lucero had not been told, reports The Fresno Bee.