Another controversial Police shooting, this time in San Diego of a mentally ill black man.
San Diego-area police critically wounded a man who witnesses said was mentally ill and unarmed with his hands in the air Tuesday afternoon.
Gunfire rang out around 2 p.m. local time in a parking lot at the Broadway Village Shopping Center in El Cajon, Calif., cops said. Witnesses and family members said that the as-yet-unidentified man shot by police is a mentally-challenged black man.
The man didn’t follow orders when officers arrived on the scene, El Cajon police spokesman Rob Ransweiler told reporters at a news conference. The officers showed up at Broadway and N. Mollison Ave. after three separate radio calls reporting the man’s “erratic” behavior, Ransweiler said, adding he was “walking in traffic, that kind of stuff.”
Ransweiler said a single officer opened fire. The unidentified victim was rushed to a hospital where he was in critical condition Tuesday evening.
It was not immediately clear if the victim was armed when he was shot. Ransweiler disputed witness accounts the man had his hands in the air, adding he was “confident that the community will support the decision made by the officer.”
“The investigation just started, but based on the video voluntarily provided by a witness, the subject did NOT have his hands up in the air,” El Cajon police said on Twitter late Tuesday.
Nonetheless, several dozen people gathered at the scene of the shooting roughly 15 miles outside San Diego. Many cursed at officers guarding the scene and video showed several protesters at one point pushing through police tape.
An employee at a nearby restaurant said her colleague voluntarily turned over a cell phone with video of the shooting to police.
The San Diego ACLU chapter said it’s too early to condemn the officer who opened fire, but blasted the El Cajon police department for seizing eyewitnesses’ cellphones.
“By seizing phones, police would likely be preventing the dissemination of video captured by bystanders,” the organization said in a statement. “The public has the right to film police in public places, and police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your digital photos or video without a warrant.”