A black man has been shot dead by homeless outreach police in San Clemente, California, after reportedly being stopped for jaywalking.
On Wednesday two Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) deputies, who were part of the city’s homeless outreach team, approached a man who is thought to have been homeless, according to The Orange County Register.
“Shortly after they contacted him, a physical altercation broke out,” said OCSD Seargent Dennis Breckner. “Shortly after that two gunshots were fired.”
The officers performed CPR on the man, who has not been identified, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Witnesses told KNBC that deputies approached the man after they saw him jaywalking in a street. Sgt Breckner said the man who was shot is black, and that his race was not part of the investigation into the shooting.
Sgt Breckner said that CCTV footage from a nearby business at the time of the incident showed the man reaching for a deputy’s weapon during the altercation.
Chloe Miller, 23, told The County Register that she witnessed the two officers and the man in the middle of the road before moving back to the pavement where they then tackled him to the floor.
“I heard two shots, and it was after he was on the ground,” Ms Miller said.
Mobile footage taken of the incident reported by KNBC showed the man shouting “stop touching me,” as he attempts to walk past two deputies and the officer's gesturing for the man to sit down.
The man refuses to sit down and deputies are later seen knocking the man to the ground and scream before two shots are fired in succession.
#OCSDPIO Deputy-involved shooting in San Clemente. Suspect is deceased on scene. PIO on scene, more to follow. Media staging on El Camino Real between Ave Cornelio and Ave Ramona.— OC Sheriff, CA (@OCSheriff) September 23, 2020
According to CBSLA witnesses said that a deputy screamed that the man had hold of the weapon just before shots were fired. Authorities did not immediately specify if the man was armed.
Residents said that the man is known to the area. Melinda Steinmetz, a local resident, told The County Register: “He went to the flower store and asked for money because he was hungry."
“Then he went to get something to eat and the next thing we knew, he was dead in the street.”
Sgt Breckner said that an investigation will determine if the gunshots came from just one deputy or if both were involved.
“Right now it appears only one fired,” he said.
The Orange County District Attorney’s office will investigate the incident and the Sheriff’s Department will also conduct an administrative investigation.
The sergeant said that the department would be as transparent as possible in light of ongoing tensions over police brutality in the US.