Lawsuit filed after California police officers shoot unarmed man on video

“What imminent threat to these officers’ safety was Daniel when he’s walking down the street with his arms visible and no gun is there?”

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Recorded on surveillance video as several South Gate police officers shot him more than a dozen times, the unarmed victim recently filed a lawsuit accusing the South Gate Police Department of negligence and unnecessarily using deadly force. On Wednesday, the victim’s attorney released the video of the near-fatal shooting.

Around 8:30 a.m. on January 29, a surveillance video recorded Daniel Canizales walking down a sidewalk and looking over his shoulder as several South Gate police officers approached him on foot and in patrol vehicles. Instead of immediately stopping, Canizales ran away off-camera for a few seconds before reappearing on the screen and calmly strolling away from the officers.

According to sheriff’s officials from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating the shooting, Canizales refused the officers’ commands to stop and “continued to walk briskly away” for two blocks “at which time [the] suspect’s actions led to an officer involved shooting.”

Although Canizales appeared to slowly walk with his arms at his sides and no visible weapons, the officers declined to use nonlethal tactics and instead reportedly fired 16 rounds at Canizales, hitting him with 13 bullets. Canizales suffered nerve damage and a shattered left knee from his wounds.

No weapon was recovered at the scene.

“It’s just real sad and depressing, you know, I just thank God that I’m here,” Canizales said at a press conference with his attorney, Luis Carrillo, on Wednesday.

“Officers can shoot someone if the person is an imminent threat to their safety,” said Carillo. “What imminent threat to these officers’ safety was Daniel when he’s walking down the street with his arms visible and no gun is there?”

“The nerves are damaged permanently,” Canizales’ brother, Alejandro Somoza, told reporters. “That hurts to know my brother might not be able to walk anymore, or is not gonna be able to walk anymore.”

The South Gate Police Department has declined to comment on the lawsuit and refuses to provide details about the shooting.

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