Video of California officers shooting unarmed man released

July 15, 2015

crime sceneA federal judge has ordered the release of a police video that shows three Southern California officers opening fire on and killing an unarmed 35-year-old man who was mistakenly suspected of stealing a bicycle. [LA Times]

In the June 2013 incident, Richard Diaz Zeferino, 35, was actually helping search for the stolen bicycle, which belonged to a friend of his. Three Gardena police officers stopped Zeferino and two others and ordered them to keep their hands up.

Zeferino, who appeared confused, repeatedly dropped and raised his hands. He also stepped backward and forward a few paces.

After Zeferino removed a baseball cap from his head, all three officers opened fire. Zeferino was struck eight times by bullets.

One of Zeferino’s friends was also wounded in the shooting, but survived.

Attorneys for the city of Gardena argued Zeferino repeatedly ignored police orders and reached into his pockets and waistband area. Gardena settled a lawsuit over the shooting for $4.7 million, but the city has fought to keep the video sealed.

The Los Angels Times, Associated Press and Bloomberg requested that the footage be released.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson ordered the release of the video. Wilson said the public had an interest in seeing the recording.

“The fact that they spent the city’s money, presumably derived from taxes, only strengthens the public’s interest in seeing the videos,” Wilson wrote.

After Wilson issued his ruling, Gardena appealed and obtained an order from a 9th circuit judge to keep the footage under seal. The LA Times had already published the video, though.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office did not file charges against the three officers — Christopher Mendez, Christopher Sanderson and Matthew Toda. The district attorney’s office said it was reasonable for the officers to think Zeferino was reaching for a weapon.


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NorthCountyGuy

How many cops who lied to cover up for Jim App were promoted????


How many cops who didn’t lie for Jim App were fired????


Citizen

What if you (a US citizen) were in Mexico and the Mexican police stopped you and started issuing orders in Spanish. If you acted as this young man (even claiming you didn’t speak Spanish), you would be shot and killed.


The same thing would happen in China, Russia, etc.


SLO_Johnny

The US Constitution holds our police to a higher standard.


kettle

This seems to be a police culture issue, part of the militarisation of the American LEO.

For example:


http://articles.latimes.com/2013/feb/08/local/la-me-torrance-shooting-20130209

“A few minutes later, a truck slowly rolled down the quiet residential street.


As the vehicle approached the house, officers opened fire, unloading a barrage of bullets into the back of the truck. When the shooting stopped, they quickly realized their mistake. The truck was not a Nissan Titan, but a Toyota Tacoma. The color wasn’t gray, but aqua blue. And it wasn’t Dorner inside the truck, but a woman and her mother delivering copies of the Los Angeles Times. Law enforcement sources told The Times that at least seven officers opened fire. On Friday, the street was pockmarked with bullet holes in cars, trees, garage doors and roofs. Residents said they wanted to know what happened.


“How do you mistake two Hispanic women, one who is 71, for a large black male?” said Richard Goo, 62, who counted five bullet holes in the entryway to his house.”


Truck shot at more than 100 times while they delivered newspapers in Torrance and survived.

http://www.trbimg.com/img-5115b765/turbine/la-1356947-me-0207-shoot-02-rrc.jpg-20130208/600/600×392


Perspicacious

Do what the cops order you to do and do NOT make furtive movements and this would not happen. You armchair QB’s, go do the cops job for one day and you will understand more. Actually, you probably wouldn’t make it one day before you crapped your pants and quit.


marcusaurelius

you ever have a gang of thugs dressed in blue yelling commands and pointing guns at you with no good reason? I am sure it would be unnerving even for someone whose native language is english.


kettle

Perspicacious says:”Do what the cops order you to do and do NOT make furtive movements”


Good thing you speak english and did not reach for your papers or have a medical issue…


Perspicacious says: “You armchair QB’s, before you crapped your pants and quit.”


Proud of your vast law enforcement experience? Your many stop and frisks? All those traffic stops? “You armchair QB’s” yes, yes you are too.


Jorge Estrada

He was not a very well trained subservient and was killed for failing to follow orders. This was an eye opener, an example of what could happen in a college town too. Simply put, this young adult was murdered and the taxpayers paid somebody $4.7 million to settle. That too was an eye opener, how much $ would the settlement have been if his name was Noah Findmore. Locally millions have been paid for accidentally getting hit by a car while crossing the street at night, dressed in black and talking on the cell phone. The car killing the pedestrian was truly a stupid accident but this firing squad had enough stage light to film the event, never saw a gun and let him have it. This is definately a black eye for law enforcement, very sad for everyone.


laftch

I am a supporter of law enforcement, but until police come to understand that they will be held responsible for egregious acts such as this, manslaughter at best, we as a populace will experience only more of this kind of state condoned violence. These people should be in prison.


marcusaurelius

cmon those cops were in fear for their lives.


this should tell you something about how the DA, Local Judge, and press all work to cover up egregious acts by law enforcement. Hiding video evidence makes it even easier.


marcusaurelius

“3 officers opened fire”


for what?


“they were in fear for their lives”……LOL!


achillesheal

another good reason to listen to the cops when they have their guns drawn and pointed at you.


marcusaurelius

hmmmm……the dude didnt understand a lick of english.


achillesheal

another reason to learn english if you reside in the US.


kettle

Tough luck if you happen to be one of the 40 million tourists visiting America.


Or are you really going on about “illegals” and South America etc?


achillesheal

see above “if you reside” in the US it’s a good idea to learn the language.


marcusaurelius

ignorance.


marcusaurelius

you ever have a gang of thugs dressed in blue yelling commands and pointing guns at you with no good reason? I am sure it would be unnerving even for someone whose native language is english.


achillesheal

Once. And I did as they said and lived to tell about it.


kettle

Good thing you were not deaf or from France.


achillesheal

Yes, there has been a real epidemic of cops shooting deaf people and those from france lately.


joseywales

what else is being hidden from us?


tip of the iceberg


kettle

Most of it, hence the resistance to video cameras/gun cameras.


Rawhide

Watching this video it seems that those cops are Magnum Force over reactive cops…


I’d bet those particular cops all have past histories that are being covered up by non prosecution.


NorCoMod

Our son-in-law has been a City of Davis cop since 2004 and I’ve done a ride along with him twice. When he started there, we were relieved that he was going to Davis, I mean what could go wrong there, maybe a drunken student falling off a bike or something like that?

The ride alongs opened my eyes. Domestic violence, bad actors from Sacramento each evening was exciting. I won’t forget following him walking up to a lowrider with four young males late at night trying to figure out whether their hands were visible. Terrifying.

I don’t condone what happened in this video and looks to me to be a tragic overreaction. I’m just saying this is a snippet of video with no other context other than the actual tragic event. There are two or more sides to all of this.