A fatal police shooting of an unarmed man in the Los Angeles suburb of Gardena two years ago followed an erroneous police dispatch after a bicycle was stolen. Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino was drunk and trying to help his brother find the bike when police, told to be on the lookout for two robbers, opened fire when he wouldn’t obey orders as they stopped him and two friends, the Associated Press reports. Video of the shooting captured on cameras in three police cars is at the center of a court fight today over whether the footage should be made public.
AP, the Los Angeles Times, and Bloomberg maintain that the public has a right to view the video that was sealed in a federal lawsuit that Gardena settled for $4.7 million with Diaz-Zeferino’s family and another man who was wounded in the shooting. Rochelle Wilcox, attorney for the media organizations, says, “Public policy strongly supports disclosure of this video, which was taken on a public street.” A hearing scheduled for today on the issue comes at a time of heightened scrutiny in shootings by officers and amid an ongoing debate over whether footage shot on police cameras should be made public.