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The security camera footage that captured the police shooting of Fridoon Rawshan Nehad, an unarmed, mentally ill man, is being held under a protective order in federal court.
The questions began almost immediately after the shooting.
Fridoon Rawshan Nehad, who was shot and killed by San Diego police officer Neal Browder in an alley in the Midway neighborhood in late April, turned out to be unarmed, despite initial reports that said he had a knife. And Browder didn’t turn on the body camera he was wearing before the shooting.
But a security camera from a nearby business did record the entire incident. According to a sworn court statement from an employee of the business who watched the video at least 20 times. Nehad had done nothing to provoke Browder to shoot and kill him. The employee called the video “shocking.”
The city, however, says Nehad threatened Browder and was closing in on him when the officer drew his gun and fired. Browder has been returned to active duty while prosecutors weigh any charges against him.
The city has refused to release the security camera video – even though Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman has said she’d consider making video recordings of disputed police shootings public. City officials only turned the security camera footage over to Nehad’s family members after they filed a federal lawsuit – and even then it was disclosed along with a court order that the video couldn’t be made public.
We believe the public should be able to see what happened in this case.
Wednesday afternoon, Voice of San Diego and four other local media outlets filed a motion in federal court to unseal the video of the Nehad shooting along with Browder’s initial statement to investigators. From the motion:
The Media wishes to review the Video and Browder’s Statement in order to publicly report on the killing and how it occurred, and is informed and believes that [Nehad’s family] are willing to provide copies and discuss them with the Media. This issue is of immense public concern in America, including San Diego, as other news stories involving the killing of unarmed individuals, some of whom have mental illness, have recently shown, including in Ferguson, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Maryland, and elsewhere.
We’ll keep you updated on the case.