It was your regular, run-of-the-mill Los Angeles police chase, a phenomenon which happens every so often, most recently yesterday.
Except in this case, the audience watching at home witnessed three police officers opening fire on the suspect after he exited the vehicle, hands over his head, seemingly ready to surrender to police.
The shooting can be seen in the scene below. Warning: while you can't see the details, it is an explicit video.
Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that prosecutors declined to file charges against the officers, citing that there was "insufficient evidence" to prove they "didn't act in self-defense or the defense of others" when they shot him. The officers alleged that they saw the suspect reaching for his waistband when they fired the shots.
The man, 51-year old disabled National Guard veteran Brian Breaird, was shot 15 times, including the three lethal shots which struck him from behind. He was reportedly under constant medical care, and recently underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor. Breaird's family said he was having severe emotional problems after the surgery, and that he was paranoid and extremely depressed at the time.
The case is notable because Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck announced last December that the officers violated department rules for use of deadly force in the shooting.
"The preponderance of the evidence does not independently support [the officers'] perceptions that a deadly threat was present," Beck wrote in a memo, which was reported by the Los Angeles Times.
More from that report:
One officer, who fired eight rounds, said he believed Beaird was actually shooting at police. In a detailed account of Beaird's movements, the officer said Beaird had reached under his shirt and seemed to be pointing an object back at the officers from beneath his clothing. That, coupled with the sound of gunshots, led the officer to conclude Beaird was shooting, according to the report.
Beck, however, found "the evidence and actual actions of the suspect" contradicted the officer's account.
Although the officers had only seconds to act in the difficult conditions, Beck ultimately found their decision to shoot was unreasonable. "Each officer is accountable for their own use of force," he wrote.
Breaird's father filed a civil lawsuit with the city after seeing how his son what shot, which the City Council approved a $5 million payment to settle.
The three officers involved have been assigned home pending discipline without pay, a department spokesperson told the AP.
Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.