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Police Caught on Video Shooting Man in Wheelchair Are Placed on Administrative Leave

| January 5, 2011
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UPDATE 12:40 P.M. We have an update from KQED’s Rachel Dornhelm, who this morning attended SF Police Chief George Gascon’s press conference, in which he addressed yesterday’s police shooting of a man in a wheelchair. The incident, captured on video, is the second time in one week that San Francisco police have shot a mentally ill man wielding a knife.

Facts that came out of Gascon’s press conference:

  • Three officers fired shots at the man, one with a non-lethal bean-bag gun and two with service revolvers.
  • All three The two who fired their revolvers have been placed on administrative leave and will undergo a psychological evaluation.
  • The two officers who fired their service revolvers were a sergeant with 15 years of experience and an officer with 4-5 years. The officer who used his bean bag has one to two years of experience.
  • The man who was shot has a criminal record.
  • Gascon said they thought the incident might help spur approval by the commission of the use of police tasers. Gascon said that he thought if police had possessed tasers in this incident, they might not have shot the man. Thomas Mazzucco, president of the San Francisco Police Commission, also spoke and said he thought the police commission would take up the taser issue again. The commission voted against outfitting police with the weapons last March.
  • Original post
    San Francisco police shot a man in a wheelchair Tuesday at 10th and Howard. Police said that minutes before a bystander video started recording the incident, the man had stabbed an officer.



    Report from the Chronicle:

    …The 10:15 a.m. shooting at 10th and Howard streets began when officers were summoned to the San Francisco Department of Public Health building at 1380 Howard St., where a man apparently had been slashing tires on parked cars, witnesses say…Richard Sarraille, an employee at the Department of Public Health, said he saw the man in his wheelchair earlier in the morning in what he described as “a highly agitated state.” Sarraille said the bearded man, a Caucasian in his late 40s, was a regular visitor known to cause trouble at the building, which provides services for the mentally ill.

    And from the Examiner.

    Cops were called to the San Francisco Department of Public Health center at 1380 Howard St. around 10:15 a.m. on reports that the suspect was holding a knife and a rock and vandalizing city vehicles, Officer Eric Chiang said.

    A worker at the mental health center said the unidentified suspect was a client of 1380 Howard St. who had become angry after he was denied services. Chiang said the man used a wheelchair, but was not confined to it.

    Police originally told reporters that the man was standing at the time of the shooting. But at the evening news conference, Gascón acknowledged that the suspect was sitting down in his wheelchair when he was shot….

    Georgia Jackson, who works in the building, said she saw the suspect about an hour and a half before the shooting, sitting in his wheelchair. Jackson said a co-worker told her the suspect became angry after he was denied services.

    “My co-worker was saying that he saw [the suspect] vandalizing vehicles,” she said….

    In front of 1380 Howard St., at least two tires of a city vehicle had been slashed….

    It was the second officer-involved shooting in San Francisco involving a mentally ill person in one week. On Dec. 28, officers shot and killed Vinh Bui, 46, a man with a history of mental illness, after he allegedly stabbed a 15-year-old girl with a scalpel. Police say they killed Bui after he refused to drop the weapon and advanced toward them in a threatening manner.

    Also, this KCBS report includes an interview in which the two men who took the cell phone video give their impressions of the incident, and a clip from SFPD Police Chief George Gascon’s press conference yesterday.

    KRON has more from from Gascon’s presser here:

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    Category: Law and Justice, News

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