Officers Cleared After Shooting Immigrant in the Back, Killing Him

Nicholas Iovino | Courthouse News Service

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Two police officers who killed a 20-year-old Guatemalan man by shooting him in the back will not face criminal charges, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said.

San Francisco police Officers Craig Tiffe and Eric Reboli killed Amilcar Perez Lopez in the Mission District on the night of Feb. 26, 2015.

Despite evidence that Perez Lopez was shot in the back and the back of the head, and two witnesses who say he was running away when shot, Gascon declined to press charges Wednesday, saying he could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the shooting was unjustified.

“The vast majority of the physical evidence and eyewitness accounts do not contradict the officers’ statements,” Gascon said.

An autopsy revealed Perez Lopez was shot five times in the back and once in the back of his head, apparently contradicting Reboli’s statement that Perez-Lopez was lunging at him with a knife when the officer opened fire.

But the DA’s office found Perez-Lopez could have turned 90 to 180 degrees between the time Reboli started to shoot and the moment the bullets entered his body, according to an analysis by a use-of-force expert.

Even without that analysis, the shooting would still be justified, Gascon said, because Perez Lopez was turned in the direction of a civilian, Abraham P., whom he had been chasing with a knife before the officers arrived, according to police reports and eyewitnesses.

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