San Diego, CA — A judge ordered the release on Tuesday of surveillance videos that captured San Diego Police Officer Neal Browder shooting a mentally ill homeless veteran to death. The unarmed man had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and PTSD after serving in the Afghan army and being held captive for two months by a Mujahideen group.
On April 30, Officer Browder responded to a call concerning a homeless man harassing people in a parking lot. Newly released surveillance videos show Browder pull up in his cruiser to confront 42-year-old Fridoon Rawshan Nehad. After failing to turn on his body camera before arriving, Browder can be seen exiting his vehicle before immediately firing at Nehad.
Instead of brandishing a weapon, Nehad had been twirling a pen in his hand when the officer suddenly shot him. After watching the surveillance video roughly two dozen times, nearby KECO employee Wesley Doyle stepped forward declaring Browder did not bother to use his Taser or give Nehad any physical warning that he was about to shoot him.
“He did not even get into a shooting stance,” Doyle wrote in his declaration. “The shooting appeared to be unprovoked; Officer Browder appeared to shoot Fridoon hastily.”
After Doyle stepped forward, Nehad’s family filed a complaint accusing Browder of depriving Nehad’s civil rights, assault and battery, negligence, and wrongful death. According to the complaint, Nehad had been serving in the Afghan army when a Mujahideen group captured him and tortured him for two months. In the years following his release, Nehad was diagnosed with numerous mental illnesses as a result of his captivity.
“Fridoon battled against his illnesses for years. He was intelligent, learning new languages (German and French) and taking classes on computer programming, linguistics and literature,” the complaint read. “Fridoon was loved. His family spent years and countless hours helping him cope with his PTSD and mental illness.”
Although the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice have launched an investigation into the fatal police shooting, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced that her office has decided not to file criminal charges against Browder. Even though District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman, and an attorney for Browder fought to keep the videos suppressed, U.S. District Court Judge William Hayes ruled last week that the officials had no right to keep the videos hidden from the public and Nehad’s family.
Due to the fact that Nehad did not raise the pen in an aggressive manner nor lunge at the officer raises the question why Browder felt the need to kill him less than three seconds after exiting his patrol car. Instead of providing help to an ally, we as a society have once again turned a blind eye to those suffering with mental illnesses and have allowed another life to be sacrificed to the state.
After surviving two months in an enemy torture camp, this veteran came home only to be executed by an American cop.
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