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Bodycam Footage Shows California Deputy Killing 15-Year-Old

On Wednesday, the sheriff of San Bernardino, California, released new body-camera footage of the fatal police shooting of 15-year-old Ryan Gainer, who was holding a gardening tool. It appears that two deputies fired three rounds at Gainer, the Guardian reports. Sheriff Shannon Dicus showed reporters the footage on Wednesday in response to the widespread outrage and criticism that followed the Saturday killing of Gainer, who was autistic and having a mental health crisis. Still, Dicus repeatedly defended the deputies’ use of lethal force, at one point referencing Gainer’s “large stature” – a comment that drew immediate backlash from civil-rights advocates.


The first 15-second video released showed one deputy arriving at the home in Apple Valley, east of Los Angeles, to find an open front door. A man inside could be heard saying, “He’s got a stick in his hand,” and soon after, Gainer appeared holding the gardening tool, identified as a 5ft hula hoe. The deputy at the door shouted: “Get back … you’re going to get shot.” The deputy then shot as Gainer moved toward him, as shown in the video, though the deputy was running away from Gainer and facing the other direction. As a result, that deputy's bodycam didn't capture the shooting. Instead, it shows the moment when the deputy and his camera turned back to Gainer -- and Gainer was lying on the ground.


The shooting can be viewed from a distance on footage from another deputy, the second to arrive. Gainer appeared to be holding the tool over his head when he was shot by both deputies. The footage, however, is grainy. Both deputies shot Gainer less than a minute after arriving, and within roughly seven seconds of him appearing in their view. Dicus did not name the deputies.

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