A Southern California police department faces criticism after two of its officers shot a Black man in the back as he ran away from them.
23-year-old Robert Adams was gunned down by San Bernadino cops on Saturday evening in a parking lot. Police claim he was armed with a handgun. But video of the incident clearly shows that the officers who fired did so within seconds of arriving on the scene in an unmarked car and exiting the vehicle with guns drawn.
Adams almost immediately turns and runs before falling to the ground. The video begs the questions of whether Adams knew he was being pursued by law enforcement and what right he may have had to flee, or defend himself, if it wasn’t clear that the armed men were cops.
San Bernadino police have released an “enhanced” version of the surveillance video that they claim shows a gun in Adams’ hand as they arrive on the scene. The department also claims that its officers were responding to a call about a man in the parking lot with a gun.
Adams’ family disputes that account.
From CBS Los Angeles
His mother, Tamika Deavila King, responded to the shooting and surveillance footage in comments to CBS Los Angeles this week. Like many others on Twitter and Facebook, she questioned the officer’s decision to fire his gun.
“I could understand if he was a threat to them,” said King, referencing her son’s actions on the tape in the moments leading up to the shooting. “But he was not a threat to them. He was running for his life.”
Family members and friends — including one person identified as Adams’ “best friend,” who was seemingly able to provide a firsthand recollection of the shooting while speaking to CBS LA — have said that police did not verbally communicate with Adams at all during the deadly interaction.