Here’s a Shocker: Officer Involved in Fatal Midway Shooting Won’t Be Charged

by on November 10, 2015 · 6 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, History, Media, Ocean Beach, Politics, San Diego

midway district shooting

Screen capture from NBC7 showing alley of shooting.

Here’s a real shocker – hope you’re sitting down – the San Diego police officer involved in that Midway District fatal shooting of an unarmed man last April, will not be charged.

After an “exhaustive investigation”, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced that her office will decline to file criminal charges against Officer Neal B. Browder who shot and killed 42-year-old Fridoon Zalberg Rawshannehad, an Afghan immigrant, in an alley next to an adult bookstore late at night.  The victim was unarmed – except for a pen.

DA Dumanis must have a stack of already printed-out forms that exonerate officers in police shootings, and just pens in the officer’s name, the victim’s name and dates. Has there ever been an officer who didn’t receive exoneration under her watch?

San Diegans – unfortunately – are pretty used to seeing any fatal conflict between civilian and officer always resolved in the officer’s favor. The city has a police review board, but it’s toothless and ineffectual.

This was the case that caused quite a stink in some corners. Security camera video from a nearby business supposedly showed that the victim posed no threat to the officer, a 27-year veteran of the SDPD who  had not switched on his body camera. His failure to do so led to a revised policy on body cameras by Chief Shelley Zimmerman – now”officers will now be trained to start recording prior to their arrival on radio calls that are likely to result in an enforcement contact.” Former policy had officers turn on the cameras at the beginning of an enforcement action.

The case grew scandalous when Chief Zimmerman refused to release the footage of the private security cameras, leading to increased speculation that it had something to hide – and which resulted in a bevy of mainstream media to call for its release, along with the Voice of San Diego. We joined that call.

There has been a wrongful-death suit filed against the Police by Rawshannehad’s family with the assertion that the private surveillance camera shows that the victim – their relative – was further away from Officer Browder that he claimed. The victim’s proximity was the reason for Browder to open fire.

But a judge has decided in the city’s favor after it went to court and ruled that the surveillance tape must remain under wraps until the lawsuit is finished.

Margaret Dooley-Sammuli – a policy director for the ACLU of California- stated:

“The department has said it is deploying body cameras in part to build community trust. Releasing the surveillance video would show the community the department is committed to that promise.”

This just in: Doug Porter over at San Diego Free Press looks at the larger problem – the use of deadly force by San Diego cops.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

unwashedwalMartTHONG November 10, 2015 at 11:55 am

In the olden days the pen was mightier than the sword, but the officer didn’t have a sword, did he? Mace. Pepper spray. Steel-toed pumps. Baton. Gun.
I’m surprised the ocifer didn’t pull out that unregistered .22 to lay near the body of his victim. Perhaps that is just too much to think about: turn on the camera or prepare the planting of the .22 after target practice. The City needs more officers w/ that multi-tasking genetic make up.


Frank Gormlie November 10, 2015 at 12:24 pm

There was that great ol phrase, “the pen is mightier than the sword,” but I recall we updated it during the Sixties/Seventies to “the pen is mightier than the sword but no match for the machine gun”.


unWASHedwallmartTHONG November 10, 2015 at 8:53 pm

. . . or the NSA.


rick callejon November 10, 2015 at 12:26 pm

One way to build community trust would be to stop killing unarmed community members.


Dr. Jack Hammer November 10, 2015 at 12:35 pm

I remember back in 2003 when a group of police shot at least 13 times and killed an unarmed man on Pt Loma Blvd for carrying a small black bag. The police shot out tires on a car, into an apartment building, and then made sure the man died alone in the street in his own blood, after refusing to allow someone to cradle him as he bled to death. Now that builds community…


objamie November 10, 2015 at 5:16 pm

This is a simple 4-7mm pay-out for the city after some basic arbitration. I wonder if the actual arcurial (I’m a HS dro-out so sorry if that isn’t the right word) tables will have skin-tone charts? I imagine they will. Was there any disciplinary action at all for the switching off of the body camera upon arriving at the scene?

PS- It seems like one of those captive chimps could be taught to understand the fundamentals of a polaroid, no?


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