Last week police released additional footage in the shooting death of Kurt Reinhold, a 42-year-old homeless Black man who was killed by police after he was accused of jaywalking.
Protesters continue advocating for justice in Reinhold’s death, marking a somber truth that walking while Black shouldn’t be a death sentence.
Reinhold was approached by Orange County sheriff’s deputies in San Clemente, California on Sept. 23, at the height of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in response to the repeated high-profile killings of Black community members.
In the video captured by dash cam, officers assigned to the homeless outreach team watch from their car as Reinhold approaches the intersection. They can be overheard arguing over whether to move on Reinhold.
The officers decide to approach Reinhold, where the incident escalates after they accuse him of jaywalking.
“What is your problem? Why are you touching me?” Reinhold can be overheard asking the officers.
A witness cell phone video shows the officers tackle him to the ground, while one yells out moments later “He’s got my gun.”
Two shots ring out, one of which undoubtedly proved to be fatal.
Police claim they released the video in an effort to maintain transparency around the ongoing investigation conducted by the Orange County District Attorney’s office. They also maintain that the officers were justified in using excessive force, pointing to the video which they feel shows Reinhold attempting to pull one of the officer’s guns from out of its holster.
“Every time a law enforcement contact escalates to the use of deadly force, it is tragic for the family, the deputies and the community. We are releasing this critical incident video to be transparent, and must reserve judgement until the Orange County District Attorney’s Office completes their investigation,” reads a statement from Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes.
The two officers involved in the shooting were removed from the homeless outreach team and reassigned, CBS LA reports.
“This is a blatant racially motivated stop,” said attorney John Taylor, who represents Reinhold’s family.
“They create the confrontation. They escalate the confrontation. They are the first person to put their hands on him and they end up taking his life, shooting him to death.”
“If this was a white man attempting to do or stand in a public space, the stop and the shooting would never have occurred,” he continued.
His family has remained vigilant in the effort to remind the public that Reinhold was a Black man who struggled, but he was also a father and a husband.
Reinhold’s family filed a lawsuit late last year claiming the officers violated his Fourth and 14th Amendment rights and were guilty of negligence.