U.S. District Judge William Hayes ruled on Dec. 18 that San Diego Police Officer Neal Browder was reasonable in his use of deadly force when he shot and killed a mentally ill man, Fridoon Rawshan Nehad, who was armed with a pen on April 30, 2015.
Nehad’s family had filed a lawsuit over the killing, which took place during a 33-second encounter, notes The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Within five seconds of getting out of his police car, Browder killed Nehad because he feared for his life.
Nehad was about 17 feet away from Browder when Browder shot him.
Browder did not turn his police body cam during the killing.
The incident began when an adult bookstore employee called the cops to report a man threatening people with a knife.
Browder testified in a deposition that Nehad appeared to be armed with a knife, which was not true:
That’s when I noticed that it appeared to me that he had a knife in his hand, and that’s when I threw the mic in the passenger seat and then put the car into park, and that’s when I got out of the car.
Browder went on to claim that he “felt” Nehad was “aggressing” to stab him with the knife, which was not true:
When I saw him as he was aggressing me, he didn’t slow down. … It appeared to me he was definitely focusing on me and was walking toward me with that purpose — with a purpose. … I felt that he was walking — he was walking to stab me with the knife because that’s what I saw. That’s what I saw in his hand.
Hayes ruled favor of Browder and his wrong account of the incident:
The Court concludes that the objective facts in this record support Officer Browder’s belief that the suspect was advancing toward him with a knife and posed an immediate threat to his safety.
Dan Miller, one of the family’s attorneys, said the family will appeal the ruling:
This ruling is wrong, A jury, not this judge, must decide whether the shooting was reasonable. Anyone who looks at the video would conclude this shooting was unnecessary and unreasonable.
(Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune)