OB Rag Joins Media Call for San Diego Police to Release Security Video of Fatal Cop Shooting in the Midway

by on August 26, 2015 · 1 comment

in Civil Rights

searchlightsWe at the OB Rag applaud the efforts of local media to obtain the security video of a San Diego police officer’s fatal shooting of an unarmed man in the Midway District last April, and we join in the call for the police to make public the video.

The Voice of San Diego, KPBS, KGTV, the San Diego Union-Tribune, and inewsource have joined together in filing a motion in court seeking a court order allowing the media to have access to the videotape.

The motion, filed in Federal Court a week ago, demands that the video – a security camera video – taken by a business near the alley where the fatal shooting took place – be made public and be released under the First Amendment and federal court rules. A statement about the shooting made by the police officer involved is also being sought.

Just after midnight on April 30th, 42-year-old Fridoon Rawshan Nehad was killed by San Diego Police Officer Neal Browder in the Midway District behind an adult bookstore off Hancock Street. Nehad was first reported to have a knife – but that was later changed to him having a shiny pen. He also suffered from mental illness.  Browder did not have his police body camera on during the incident for some reason.  According to police and the City, Nehad disregarded the officer’s orders to drop the object in his hand, and instead moved toward Browder when he was killed. The victim was unarmed and was shot about 10 to 15 feet from the officer, who had just arrived at the scene after a complaint from a clerk in the store.

Up to now, San Diego Police have refused to release the video publicly, declaring that it was part of an ongoing investigation, citing a section of the state Public Records Act that exempt those kinds of records from disclosure.

The videotape has been released to the family of Rawshan Nehad, which is suing the City and Browder in federal court for civil rights violations.  Right now the video and cop statement are under a court order restricting any of the parties from releasing them.

The OB Rag – which has been following the shooting and its aftermath – agrees with the motion that in the current national debate about police shootings of unarmed citizens, the public has a right to see the video, and that right outweighs any privacy or confidentiality issues. The victim’s family does not object to its release either.

The videotape at issue was viewed by an employee of the business before it was turned over to police. And in court papers, the employee –  Wesley Doyle – stated that after viewing the tape 20 to 30 times, the shooting was unprovoked, that Nehad was shot by Browder as he approached the officer.

For the media group, attorney Guylyn Cummins argued:

“There is nothing confidential about a video showing why and how an officer killed a person on a public thoroughfare, and no known rationale for possible secrecy therefore exists.”

We agree – and the sooner the police release this material – the sooner any claims of lack of transparency or even of police “cover-up” can be dismissed. In other cities where police delay or refuse to release information or videos of cop shootings, local activists mount serious campaigns to pressure local government to comply with citizens’ concerns.

Chief Zimmerman: the Mayor has said it’s up to you. Release the video – stop the questions.

____________

Thanks to Greg Moran and his article from SD U-T.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Avatar objamie August 26, 2015 at 3:34 pm

I don’t need to see the store cam video. I want the officer to answer to a tribunal about why his body camera was turned off upon arriving to the scene. My condolences to the victim and his family.

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