A police body cam video (below) of San Francisco police shooting Sean Moore, a mentally ill man, on Jan. 6 was released Jan. 18.
The San Francisco Police Department refused to release the footage last week because of an investigation, but San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi and Deputy Public Defender Brian Pearlman made the video public, notes KQED.
Moore survived being shot by the police, but he has been charged with felony assault of a peace officer and resisting arrest; Adachi and Pearlman want the charges dropped.
Police officers Kenneth Cha and Colin Patino were reportedly responding to a call from Moore's neighbor, who said Moore was banging on their shared residence wall, which would be a violation of a restraining order on Moore.
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In the video, one of the officers describes using pepper spray on Moore, and accidentally using the chemical weapon on his partner (before the footage begins).
Moore is back in his home when the footage starts, and is ordered by the police to come out and surrender.
Moore appears, stands at the top of the stairs, and tosses a piece of clothing out the door while Cha and Patino command him to come down.
Moore goes back into his home, but then reappears at the top of the stairs and yells, "F*** you!" several times at the cops. Moore walks down a few steps to retrieve the clothing, and the police advance on him.
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One of the officers appears to have his nightstick out and engages in a brief altercation with Moore at the top of the stairs; the second officer fires his gun twice at Moore.
According to Moore's family and Adachi, Moore suffers from schizophrenia.
Cleo Moore, the suspect's mother, said the shooting "didn’t have to happen this way if the officers had been trained" on interacting with people who have a mental illness, notes the San Francisco Examiner.
She insisted that the cops had been to her son's home before and were aware of his mental illness; however, the police were not sure that assertion was accurate.
The newspaper adds: "Among the main discrepancies between the Police Department’s version and what appears in the video is what happened right before the shooting. Police said Moore charged at them, but the video depicts Cha going toward Moore."
According to Adachi, the officers could have called for back up and the SFPD’s Crisis Intervention Team to deal with a mentally ill person, reports KQED.
Interim SFPD Chief Toney Chaplin said his cops are trained to do it on their own:
The officers are taught to kind of try to play through it and work out and resolve it on their own. They talked this guy down. They did what they could to try to calm him down, they were doing the best they can to explain why they were there. We watched the same video. They explained over and over. To me they kept a neutral voice even in the face of ethnic and racial slurs and everything that came with it.
There is also a question as to whether or not the officers were allowed to view their body cam footage before they gave their statements, which would violate department policy.