WATCH: Appeals Court Dismisses Gardena’s Lawsuit Over Release of Police Shooting Video

In this June 2, 2013, frame from Gardena Police Department dash-cam video, an officer, right, aims a gun at Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino, left, and two friends while investigating a bicycle theft in Gardena, Calif. Moments later police fatally shot Diaz-Zeferino. Hours after a federal judge ordered the release of videos sought by The Associated Press and other news organizations Tuesday, July 14, 2015, a federal appeals court has issued a stay blocking release of the video. (Gardena Police Department)

February 13, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — The city of Gardena’s claim that a judge prematurely released video of police shooting an unarmed man was dismissed by a federal appeals court Monday.

The video by police in the city of Gardena was widely published after its release in 2015. The city failed to show it will face a similar fight over police video in the future, a three-judge panel of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said.

The panel dismissed the city’s appeal. A call to an attorney who represented Gardena was not immediately returned.

U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson ordered the video released after saying it was important for the public to see whether the 2013 fatal shooting of Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino was justified. He also said it was important in understanding why the city had agreed to pay $4.7 million to settle the case.

The video had been sought by The Associated Press and other news organizations at a time when intense public scrutiny was starting to focus on police shootings nationwide.

“We’re very happy with the court’s decision to let stand what is an important victory for public transparency,” Brian Barrett, AP’s assistant general counsel, said in a statement.

Gardena officials said Wilson abused his discretion by not halting release of the video while they appealed to the 9th Circuit for an order putting the decision on hold. The 9th Circuit did not address that claim in its decision.

Diaz-Zeferino was killed June 2, 2013, by police searching for a bike thief. Diaz-Zeferino was searching for the bike — stolen from his brother — when he and two friends were stopped by police.

Footage showed Diaz-Zeferino, who was drunk and had methamphetamine in his system, failing to follow police orders to keep his hands up.

The officers said they feared he was reaching for a weapon, though they later found he was not armed. Prosecutors said the shooting was justified and declined to bring charges.


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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