Police Bash Video of Them Killing Man

     SAN ANTONIO (CN) – A TV station Monday released unedited video of Texas sheriff’s officers shooting to death an unarmed, shirtless man with his hands up – a posting the sheriff called “unethical.”
     The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office acknowledged that two deputies shot to death Gilbert Flores, 41, after responding to a domestic disturbance call Friday morning in San Antonio.
     Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said Officers Greg Vasquez and Robert Sanchez tried to use nonlethal weapons, including a Taser, but that after a “lengthy confrontation,” each officer fired a shot and killed him.
     “We know that when they went to the home there was an attempt to arrest him, he resisted and it followed from there,” Pamerleau said.
     A woman with a cut on her head and an 18 month-old child who appeared “to have been possibly injured” were inside the home when deputies arrived, Pamerleau said.
     The deputies did not have body cameras.
     But a 4-minute video shot by a San Antonio college student shows Flores pacing in a front yard, raising his hands in the air, shirtless, then falling dead upon being shot at close range. Another sheriff’s car arrives as the student says, “They just cold-blooded shot that (bleeped).”
     KSAT-12, a San Antonio ABC affiliate, acquired the video on Friday, the day Flores was killed. It did not post it at once. In the story posted on the Internet, and updated twice, KSAT said: “The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s office have addressed the incident, and commented on the video, which calls into question whether the shooting was justified. Now that there is an ongoing investigation by both agencies, and following additional discussions within our newsroom, KSAT 12 News has decided to make the entire video available online.”
     Pamerleau said at a news conference: “Certainly what’s in the video is a cause for concern. What’s important is to make sure that we don’t rush to judgment on any part of this. It’s important that we get the facts, the evidence, to make a thorough and complete assessment of what happened.”
     She said both deputies have been with the sheriff’s office for more than 10 years, and have been placed on administrative leave, “which is standard procedure.”
     Neither Flores nor the deputies can be heard in the sometimes shaky video taken from a distance of perhaps 200 to 300 yards, from a parked car.
     The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday that a second video taken by a neighbor from a closer vantage point has emerged and is being studied. The FBI is also investigating.
     “Experienced civil rights investigators from the FBI will thoroughly review the facts and circumstances surrounding the shooting,” the FBI said in a statement Tuesday. “Our focus is to determine whether a civil rights violation took place as a result of a deputy willfully engaging in the use of excessive or unjustified force.”
     KSAT bought exclusive rights to its video for $100. It posted it with a warning: “VIEWERS ARE TO BE FULLY AWARE THAT THE VIDEO MAY BE DISTURBING TO THEM IF THEY CHOOSE TO VIEW IT.”
     The station said it decided to post it “for viewers to make their own decision on whether to click on a link to see the video.”
     The sheriff’s called the video’s unedited release “unethical and sad” in an online posting Monday. It encouraged people to contact the television station if they agree, and provided KSAT’s phone number.
     In another online posting, the sheriff asked for “calm and patience.”
     “We are diligently working to complete the investigation so we can move to the next step. We want to get this right for the Flores family, our deputies and our community,” the sheriff said online.
     Flores’ death is the latest in a string of police killings that have sparked outrage and calls for change across the country.
     Congressman Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, called the killing “extremely disturbing.”
     “It appears to show an unarmed man with his hands up being shot by a deputy,” Castro said. “I trust that District Attorney Nico LaHood will pursue an indictment if all the evidence merits it.”
     The Sheriff’s Office said deputies have received death threats since the shooting. Law enforcement agencies nationwide have expressed concern about retaliatory shootings of officers.
     Harris County sheriff’s Officer Darren Goforth was shot to death Friday while pumping gas in Houston. Shannon J. Miles has been charged with capital murder. He allegedly shot Goforth 15 times from behind.
     Texas newspapers reported that Miles, 30, was found mentally incompetent in 2012 after being charged with felony aggravated assault. After 6 months in a hospital he was found competent to stand trial, but prosecutors dropped the charges because they could not find the victim, a homeless man.
     On Tuesday north of Chicago, Lake County sheriff’s Lt. Joe Gliniewicz was shot to death as he pursued three men on foot. Gliniewicz was killed in Fox Lake, about 60 miles north of Chicago. A manhunt continues for the suspects, who are described as two white men and a black man.

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