Originally published August 6 2013
California police officer executes homeless man, caught on camera
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) All the facts may not yet be in, but on the surface, it seems terribly unjust and an inappropriate use of force by a police veteran.
CBS Los Angeles reported Aug. 1 that an eyewitness recorded cellphone footage of a Santa Ana, Calif., police officer shooting and killing an 22-year-old unarmed homeless man at a local shopping center.
According to the report:
The witness, who wished to remain unidentified, was standing in the parking lot of the Harbor Place Shopping Center on South Harbor Boulevard around 3 p.m. ... when he said he filmed a confrontation in front of Jugo's La Tropicana between an officer, later identified as a 13-year veteran, and victim Hans Kevin Arellano.
"She exited her patrol car, gun drawn, and asked the gentleman to get on the ground," the witness told CBS2. "The gentleman didn't get on the ground, he was still inside the restaurant. She asked again. The man then exited the restaurant, and as he was exiting the restaurant, he said, 'What are you gonna do, b - -?' About a second later, she shot him in the chest."
No Taser first?
CBS2's reporter, Michele Gile, played footage of the incident for officers at Santa Ana PD.
"Obviously this is the first time we've seen this," Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said. "This is something that is going to be a key piece of evidence. It's something that we encourage people, if they have, to bring forward. This needs to get in the hands of the D.A. and our detectives. Like the chief said yesterday, we're trying to be open and honest. There's three separate investigations that are going on simultaneously. This portion, as the chief said, I can't comment on."
As you might expect, Arellano's kin were upset and horrified when they saw the video. They say the officer should not have used lethal force.
"I believe they should have Tased him, hit him with a baton, anything, but not shoot him to kill him," Arellano's niece, Yenniffer Moreno, told the local news team.
Santa Ana PD's interim police chief, Carlos Rojas, said at a July 31 news conference that Arellano, who had been convicted in the past of burglary, was "combative" when he had initially gotten into altercations with various people in a nearby McDonald's parking lot. When cops arrived there, he ran to a nearby juice bar where the shooting took place.
"It was a confrontation. It wasn't a casual conversation," said Rojas.
When asked why officers did not use a Taser on Arellano, Rojas answered: "Could the officer have had other options? There's always a lot of different options you have in these situations. It really comes down to the mindset of the officer at that time and what threat they may have been facing."
The Los Angeles Times reported that police had been focusing on that particular shopping mall for some time, citing a rise in complaints and calls for assistance there from storeowners and patrons.
The paper said police had received some 150 calls for problems occurring at the shopping center over the past year.
History of violence, under the influence?
From the Times:
...[A]n officer responding to calls about fighting confronted Arellano in a section of the center where homeless men and women gather.
"Something occurred back there, I don't know what it is, which led to this officer requesting assistance regards to a combative subject, possibly under the influence of narcotics," Bertagna said.
Santa Ana PD's internal affairs division, along with the Orange County District Attorney's office, are investigating.
The Daily Pilot reported further that Arellano was a user of the Check-In Center near the base of the Crossing Church parking lot in nearby Costa Mesa, "where homeless people can put their belongings to be kept in storage units." The paper said users are required to renew their storage units weekly, and Arellano was two weeks behind in doing that.
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