San Francisco police shot a homeless man—but witnesses say he wasn't a threat

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In the late morning on Thursday, San Francisco police officers shot and killed a homeless man. SFPD said the man waved around a foot-long kitchen knife and "challenged officers;" multiple eyewitnesses contradicted that claim. The man didn't speak English, witnesses told The Guardianand potentially couldn't understand what the officers were saying:

“He didn’t charge at the officers. He was going in circles because he didn’t understand what they said,” Visor said. “He had a knife on him but he didn’t have it out. He had it on his hip, and when he hit the ground, that’s when it fell out.”

“They need to realize that some people don’t speak English,” Grant added. She also remarked on the speed of the encounter, saying: “They didn’t wait for anything. It all happened so fast.”


An apparent Nextdoor post, also by an alleged eyewitness, supports the statements of the eyewitnesses above:

Today, video emerged of officers appearing on the scene, courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The video shows the officers shooting the man within 30 seconds of exiting the car, the Chronicle reported, though the shooting itself occurs out of the view of the camera.

“Based on the preliminary facts that we’ve learned so far, it appears that the officers acted appropriately,” Martin Halloran, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, told the Chronicle.

Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.