Tulare, CA — A graphic video was shared with the Free Thought Project showing police involved in chasing a suspect on foot and killing him moments later. The video has since sparked major debate online with many people saying the cops did the right thing and others saying that it was not justified because it was two cops against one man.
On Monday afternoon, police responded to a call of a man who allegedly assaulted a bus driver. When they spotted the man who they say fit the description, they attempted to question him.
The man took off running when he was confronted by officers and that is when the video begins.
As the video shows, the unidentified man was running from police. In an attempt to stop the man, one of the officers fired his taser directly into his back. The taser had no effect on the man.
When the officer grabbed the man by the shoulder in an attempt to take him down, the two began exchanging punches. The punches prompted the officer to pull out his asp. After he takes a few swings, the other officer arrives and deploys his pepper spray.
This is where things get blurry—literally. When the camera focuses on the beads hanging from the rearview mirror of the car in which the man was filming, the exact moment of the shots being fired becomes blurry.
However, before the shots are fired, it appears the officer who deployed the pepper spray may have inadvertently sprayed himself in the face in the process. This removed him from the equation and briefly turned the scenario into a one on one altercation.
Just as the video goes blurry, we hear someone in the car say, “Oh he took it away from him. He took it away.”
Less than a second later, at least 8 shots can be heard some of which sound too close together to be coming from the same gun which indicates that both officers may have opened fire.
Exactly what “it” was that the man seemingly took from the officer remains a mystery. However, it undoubtedly caused the officers to escalate to deadly force.
The police department has not said whether or not the man was armed.
“The suspect became combative. At that point in time, the officers put out that there had been shots fired,” said Sgt. John Hamlin, a spokesperson for the Tulare police department.
The incident was so disturbing and so public that it prompted residents to begin calling 911 to report it. In fact, it overloaded the Tulare emergency system.
“I know our 911 system was so overloaded they were having to hang up on people because they had so many calls about our officers in a fight with this guy,” said Hamlin.
After the shooting, the suspect was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
According to ABC 30, one witness didn’t want to be identified but says he was about 30 feet away, caught in traffic caused by the initial altercation. “I didn’t see him produce a weapon. I didn’t hear an officer say ‘drop the weapon’ or anything like that. All the sudden, I see this officer pulls out his firearm and just ‘pow pow pow’ four or five times.”
According to the department, per protocol, both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave.
Tulare police do not have body cameras, but the Tulare County Sheriffs Department, who took over the investigation says they will look into finding surveillance footage from nearby.
Below is a video showing police escalation of force from non-lethal to lethal. Let us know what you think about it in the comments below.