Chilling video footage featuring a confrontation police in Gardena, Calif. had with 35-year-old Ricardo Diaz Zeferino reveal that the officers gunned the man down while he was unarmed. The video of the shooting, which took place in 2013, was the subject of a legal tussle in where authorities attempted to have the footage barred from the public before it was finally released Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Times reported on the shooting death of Diaz Zeferino, and the lawsuit surrounding the case. In June of 2013, Diaz Zeferino was confronted by police after they were responding to reports of a stolen bicycle and approached two men who were riding bikes. Diaz Zeferino allegedly approached the officers to say that his brother the bike as stolen, and that the men riding the bikes were his friends. Officers allege that Diaz Zeferino began acting strangely and reached for what the officers thought was a weapon and opened fire.
More from the Times:
The city argued that the videos showed that Diaz Zeferino repeatedly ignored police commands and reached into his pockets and waistband area. But attorneys suing the city contended that the recordings showed a cold-blooded shooting of clearly unarmed men.
In May, when The Times first reported that the city had settled a civil rights lawsuit over the shooting, Medrano said the officers who opened fire were still on patrol. He said at the time that the department’s internal investigation to determine whether discipline is warranted had been put on hold during the civil litigation.
Under California law, the outcome of the disciplinary investigation will remain confidential.
After settling the lawsuit, Diaz Zeferino’s family and the other men supported the request of The Times and other media groups, saying the videos should be released. Gardena contended that releasing the video would deter police from using such cameras and would endanger the safety of its officers at a time of heightened public criticism of police killings.
Essentially, the judge in the case ruled that there would be strong public interest in seeing the video thus ordered the footage unsealed. The City Of Gardena argued that because the city settled a $4.7 million lawsuit that the footage would remain under wraps.
An attorney for Zefreino says he may seek to ask the Justice Department to open a civil-rights investigation.
Watch the footage of Gardena police confronting Ricardo Diaz Zeferino. A Warning: the video may be disturbing to some.