On March 23, the family of Freddy Centeno filed a lawsuit against the Fresno Police department alleging that Zebulon Price and Felipe Miguel Lucero acted beyond the limits of their authority when they shot Freddy seven times on September 3, 2015.
Freddy was carrying a spray nozzle to a garden hose and the officers barely hesitated before opening fire with less than six seconds elapse from the time they exited their cruiser to the time they opened fire.
Freddy suffered from bi-polar disorder and was schizophrenic. A deadly combination when dealing with poorly trained officers who have little to no experience in dealing with the mentally ill. His family said Freddy had left for a walk and ten minutes later they heard gunshots.
Centeno had been previously evaluated by the Fresno police last March when they learned he had stopped taking his medication during a disturbance call.
Chief Dyer said in August that de-escalation, implicit bias and mental health training was underway. Wednesday, Fresno police Deputy Chief Robert Nevarez said the responding officers did not have time to implement the training. Unfortunately, Deputy Chief Nevarez is right, these officer chose to start shooting before they had the time to asses the situation let alone implement de-escalation techniques.
Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer told The Bee that the video he reviewed showed the officers giving Centeno multiple commands. It also showed Centeno reach into his waistband and pull out the garden hose nozzle. He will hold a news conference Thursday and is considering releasing the police body cam footage, which is normally against department policy.
Why would it be against the department policy to release body camera footage?
Isn’t the objective of the body camera program to be able to provide the public with an objective record of what exactly happened in order to lay to rest any doubts there might have been surrounding the actions of any law enforcement officer involved in a use of force incident.
Even if Dyer did choose to release the full body camera footage there won’t be any evidence that will excuse the officers hasty and violent response to an unarmed Centeno.