Southern California police shoot unarmed Black man hiding in portable toilet during chase

Southern California police shoot unarmed Black man hiding in portable toilet during chase
The police and the family have settled for $1 million

Police in southern California have released body camera footage showing an officer shooting an unarmed Black man suspected of burglary just seconds after finding him hiding in a portable toilet.

The footage, released on Thursday, shows police responding to a burglary call in the city of Fontana, outside of Los Angeles. They spot a man in a hoodie, later identified as Daverion Deauntre Kinard, 28, running out a back door. Police proceed to chase him through a neighborhood, scaling walls and establishing a security perimeter.

Eventually, an officer identified in the video as Johnn Tuitavake finds Mr Kinard in the portable toilet, ripping the door off its hinges and screaming, “Hey!” before shooting the unarmed man seconds later, without offering any warnings first. The man died in the shooting.

Fontana police chief Billy Green, who narrated the video release, said the officer saw as Mr Kinard “began to roll his right hand forward toward the officer, revealing a metallic object”, which later turned out to be a lighter. The body camera footage shows the suspect appear to raise his hand in resignation when the officers discover him, right before he gets shot.

Earlier this month, the city settled with the man’s family for $1 million, and the Kinard family has asked that the footage of the shooting remain private, though state law requires its public disclosure. Both parties are prohibited from commenting on the settlement.

“The family recognises the public and the media’s interest in obtaining and viewing the footage but would appreciate the family’s desire that the footage remain private in order to protect the dignity of Daverion,” the Kinards wrote in a statement that accompanied the video’s release.

“While no amount of money can replace the loss of a family member, the family and the City have reached a resolution to this matter,” they added.

Officer Tuitavake, who was sworn in during 2019, remains on duty, and the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the incident for potential political charges, while the Fontana police continue an internal review.

Despite nearly a decade of sustained Black Lives Matter activism, police continue to kill Black people at high rates. In 2021, officers have killed at 635 people, a disproportionate number of them Black, according to an analysis from Mapping Police Violence.

An Independent investigation found that in the year since Minneapolis police killed George Floyd, little changed in terms of how officers treat communities of colour.

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