Newly-released body camera footage shows a California police officer shooting and killing an unarmed Black man without offering any warnings first.
Police officers, who were responding to a burglary call in the city of Fontana, outside of Los Angeles, on Feb. 13 spot a man later identified as Daverion Deauntre Kinard, 28, running out a back door.
After chasing him through a neighborhood, an officer identified in the video as Johnn Tuitavake finds Kinard in a portable toilet.
Tuitavake ripped the door off its hinges and screamed, “Hey!” before shooting the man seconds later. Kinard died in the shooting.
It can be seen in the video released Thursday that the officer opened the door with his left hand and shined a flashlight with his right hand.
Kinard, fully clothed, was sitting on the toilet with his armed crossed and over his lap. Moments before the officer shot him to death, Kinard had raised his left hand and his right hand revealed a shiny object, which later turned out to be a lighter.
Tuitavake saw as Kinard “began to roll his right hand forward toward the officer, revealing a metallic object,” Fontana police chief Billy Green said. “The object in his hand was a lighter.”
The incident remains under investigation by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office to see if any criminal charges will be filed. Tuitavake, who was sworn in during 2019, remains on duty.
The city settled with the man’s family for $1 million earlier this month. The family has asked that the video of the incident remain private, however, state law requires its public disclosure.
Cities across the United States have been the scene of protests over police brutality and racial profiling against African Americans in recent years.
And in spite of sustained Black Lives Matter activism, US police continue to kill Black Americans at high rates.
In 2021 alone, officers have killed at 635 people, a disproportionate number of them Black, shows an analysis from Mapping Police Violence.
Meanwhile, the killing of George Floyd, an African-American man, in Minneapolis by a white police officer last year reignited debates about the scale of US police violence and discrimination against people of color.
On May 25, 2020, Floyd was choked to death after former white police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes.