'HE'S GOT MY GUN': HOW A JAYWALKING STOP ENDED WITH CALIFORNIA DEPUTIES FATALLY SHOOTING A SUSPECT
Two sheriff’s deputies in California fell to the ground with a black man near the driveway of a hotel. They tried to talk to him, but he pushed back their advances until the three fell to the ground.
The scuffle continues with the suspect on top at one moment, then underneath the deputies in another. At one point, on video footage, he can be seen reaching for the officer’s side.
“He’s got my gun!” one deputy yells several times.
Moments later, the second officer shoots into the abdomen of the suspect. The man goes limp and is rolled off the officer as more police and paramedics arrived on the scene. He would die from his injuries.
But, the question remains. How does a stop for jaywalking end with that scene?
AN ENCOUNTER ON THE STREET
On Sept. 23, 2020, deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office shot and killed Kurt Andras Reinhold, 42, a black man. Last week, the agency released witness, surveillance and dash camera videos from the incident.
The sheriff’s office also released a video featuring narration by officials explaining the incident and what is shown.
Reinhold’s death led to protests in the Los Angeles area. Reinhold’s family has filed a civil lawsuit against the sheriff’s office over the incident and alleged that race played a part in his killing, according to media reports.
The incident started with two officers from the Homeless Liaison unit, which is designed to help the homeless with resources and services.
The officers were on patrol saw Reinhold jaywalking, Sgt. Dennis Breckner said. They approached the man and tried to talk to him. Reinhold walked behind the vehicle and into the street.
Deputies tried to get the man back on the sidewalk, but he refused their commands, Breckner said.
Dashcam video shows the deputies pulling up along the man as he stood by the road. Much of the confrontation happens away from the dashcam, though the exchange can be heard.
“What’s going on man? How you doing? How you doing?” one deputy asks.
There is no audio for a few seconds when the other deputy can be heard telling Reinhold, “You need to stop.” The wind interferes with the audio for a moment, then the officer says, “you going to stop or we going to have to make you stop.”
Deputies continued to try to talk to Reinhold and he eventually yells “for what?”
They tell him they are stopping him for jaywalking.
Reinhold tells deputies several times that he’s walking, and a deputy tells him to “stop,” though Reinhold continues to move in and out of the street. Reinhold yells at the deputies as they tell him to return to the sidewalk and repeatedly asks why they are stopping him.
Deputies eventually radio in that they have an uncooperative man at their location.
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A witness shot cellphone video from across the street and it starts as the two deputies tried to talk to Reinhold in the street. Reinhold yells at the deputies and questions what intersection they say he jaywalked in. The deputies point to the location and say, “right there.”
The three men keep moving in and out of the street as the officers try to get Reinhold on the sidewalk.
The deputies keep their distance, but Reinhold approaches and swats away one of the officer’s arms. He then says, “stop touching me.” The man continues to walk away as officers keep an arms-length distance, though Reinhold yells for them to stop touching him.
An agitated Reinhold continues to swat at officers as they pace the road.
“The man is refusing to obey the deputies’ commands to go back to the sidewalk and is actively resisting the deputies attempts to detain him,” Breckner said.
The deputies now get much closer to Reinhold as they move on the sidewalk. They then grab him and the group falls to the ground. A struggle on the ground starts. It was then the deputy yelled:
“He’s got my gun.”
The witness video shows the three men going to the ground but is obscured by traffic in the road. The camera also turns away when the shots are fired. Surveillance video from the other side of the struggle shows what the witness video did not.
The video shows the struggle on the ground where both deputies started on top of Reinhold. The footage of the tussle lasts about 30 seconds.
The officers are on top of Reinhold at one point, which when Reinhold reaches for the deputy’s side near where his gun is holstered. Reinhold rolls on top of one deputy, with the other on the top of the two of them.
It’s unclear from the footage shot from dozens of yards away if Reinhold removed the deputy’s gun from the holster.
The three men continue to struggle on the ground when the deputy on top pulled out his gun and fired into Reinhold’s side. The gunshots are heard in the witness’ video.
“Oh, they got him,” the witness says as the second shot is fired.
Moments after the shooting, officers rolled Reinhold on his side and started to perform CPR. One deputy can be seen vigorously pushing on Reinhold’s chest in the process.
Within a minute, people emerge from the building and other police arrive at the shooting. Within five minutes, an ambulance is at Reinhold as paramedics tried to provide aid.
Within 10 minutes, numerous emergency responders at the scene and have set up yellow, crime-scene tape to keep people at a distance.
After an officer shooting, there are three investigations, including a policy review and whether there should be criminal charges in the actions. All three investigations are ongoing.
The Sheriff's Office said no conclusion will be drawn about what is in the video until the investigation is complete. Officials released the video to help the public's faith in the agency.
"In order to foster greater public trust with the community we serve, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department will publish Critical Incident Videos about incidents where the actions of department members in the performance of their duties are likely to have a significant impact on the Department, community, citizens, or any other person, and/or incidents involving the use of deadly force or force resulting in serious physical injury."
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