A federal judge has ordered the release of police dashcam footage that shows three officers shooting an unarmed man in 2013.
The footage above shows three men mistakenly suspected of stealing a bicycle, standing in a Los Angeles street, under the glare of police lights and surrounded by armed officers.
The officers order the men to keep their hands up. Two men comply while Ricardo Diaz Zeferino appears confused by the instructions. He repeatedly drops and raises his hands and paces slightly forward and backward. A green laser can then be seen on his person as police officers take aim.
After he removes his baseball cap from his head, three officers open fire, killing Diaz Zeferino with eight bullets. One of the other men was also wounded in the shooting.
The officers feared that Diaz Zeferino was reaching for a weapon when he removed his cap. But, the 34-year-old was unarmed and the stolen bicycle in question actually belonged to his brother – which he was trying to find.
The city of Gardena paid $4.7 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit with Diaz Zeferino’s family and Eutiquio Acevedo Mendez, the other man wounded in the shooting.
The city agreed to the settlement in the belief that the video would not be made public. They argued that releasing the video would deter police from using dashcams in the future and would endanger the safety of the officers.
But, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson said it was in the public interest that the videos were released, especially after the settlement was paid using taxpayer money.
The Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press and Bloomberg had filed a lawsuit to release the footage.
Paul Colford, a spokesperson for the Associated Press said: “We applaud the court's decision to unseal the video… The Associated Press, joining with other news organizations, believes it's important that the public has access to videos like this to better understand the actions of their police officers.”Reuse content