July 18, 2015

Video of Police Shooting in Gardena Released

In June 2013, in Gardena, California, local police officers shot unarmed brothers Ricardo Diaz Zeferino and Augustin Reynoso as they stood in front of the officers. Zeferino was killed and Reynoso left with a bullet lodged next to his spine. The incident was captured from two different video cameras, which demonstrate the absence of any justifiable basis for the officers' decision to open fire.

As detailed in this story in the L.A. Times, the local district attorney chose not to file charges against the officers, stating that Zeferino was seen reaching for a weapon. A civil lawsuit followed during which the video was released subject to a protective order (meaning that the lawyers could not use it outside the litigation). The plaintiffs' lawyers argued that the video showed a baseless shooting of two unarmed men. Gardena continued to argue that the video showed the officers responding to a man reaching for a weapon in his waistband. Ultimately, Gardena paid $4.7 million.

The L.A. Times, Bloomberg, and the Associated Press, sought the release of the video. Last week United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson granted that request. Defense attorneys raced to the Court of Appeals for a stay of the order but not fast enough to prevent its release.

This is the video that Gardena did not want the public to see.

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