As part of its transparency protocol, San Francisco police held a town hall meeting Thursday and presented body-camera footage from an August 28 incident in which multiple officers shot and wounded a man in the Tenderloin who refused to drop a knife he was carrying.
The incident, which occurred on the 300 block of Jones Street last Monday night, involved a man named Jerry or "Louisiana," as some people in the neighborhood told police. The man, subsequently identified as 54-year-old Richard Everett, may be homeless, and the implication was that he suffered mental illness.
Police responded to a report of a man who had been menacing people with a long knife that evening, and when they arrived and surrounded him, the man stood near a building with some belongings around him, speaking seemingly incoherently with police, and refusing to drop the knife.
In the bodycam footage, officers can be heard discussing the situation, and how they plan to conduct arrest. 911 calls suggest that Everett had already been pepper-sprayed by someone before police arrived.
Multiple officers, including a crisis negotiator, keep trying to tell Everett that they don't want to hurt him. Everett can be heard saying something about not wanting to be messed with, and saying "God gave me this knife."
After about 15 minutes of back-and-forth, in which Everett refuses to let go of the knife and stays relatively still, he appears to start gathering up his belongings and trying to walk away — even though police had just told him he could sit down but he was not going to be allowed to leave.
Footage shows Everett waving the knife in the air as he's being shot, but it is not clear if he was doing anything besides walking, vaguely in the direction of officers but more generally into the empty street, at the moment that he is shot. Around a dozen shots are fired — though some may have been non-lethal.
In the lead-up to the shooting, a supervising officer is heard on his own body camera saying that two of the officers positioned on the scene were "lethal," and others appeared to have rifles that may have been loaded with non-lethal munitions.
As Mission Local reports, Everett remains at SF General Hospital in serious condition. The extent of his wounds has not been reported.
Two patrol officers with Tenderloin Station, Gabriel Arteaga and Russell Lucia, have been identified as the officers who fired shots.
The incident remains under investigation by the District Attorney's Office, and the San Francisco Department of Police Accountability.
The video is disturbing, but you may watch it below.