Media outlets are reporting that San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has announced that her office will not file charges against the San Diego police officer who shot a man to death in a Midway District alley on April 30, 2015. Her announcement said the San Diego Police Department officer, Neal Browder, a 27-year veteran, acted reasonably when he shot Fridoon Rawshan Nehad. Officer Browder has said he thought Nehad was holding a knife; indeed, by all accounts he was holding a pen. The officer did not turn on his body camera as SDPD policy requires, but the incident was caught on security video from a nearby business. The SDPD refuses to release the video to the public or the press.
The statement below can be attributed to Norma Chavez-Peterson, executive director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties.
The San Diego ACLU is dismayed that once again, San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis appears to be protecting a police officer from public scrutiny.
DA Dumanis announced today that her office would not file charges against Officer Neal Browder of the San Diego Police Department in the fatal shooting of Fridoon Zalberg Rawshannehad.
This is the officer-involved shooting where the officer neglected to turn on his body camera. There does exist, however, video evidence from a nearby security camera. But the city went to court to keep the footage private.
SDPD Police Chief Zimmerman said at the time that it would be too dangerous to share the video with the public. We--and our colleagues in the press--remain adamant that it is always best to err on the side of transparency rather than darkness.
Both the mayor and the police chief are supporters of body worn cameras yet the department doesn’t release any footage from these cameras or any other footage they acquire. It is imperative that video evidence that exists be shared with the public if the police hope to build trust with the community.
It is hard to respect the district attorney’s positions when all evidence is hidden from the public.