By Ken Stone
San Diego Police Wednesday released graphic video of a shirtless man with a handgun being shot by officers Sunday in the underground parking lot of the downtown police headquarters.
Without elaboration, police Lt. Shawn Takeuchi released a link to the YouTube video and a statement that began: “The San Diego Police Department is committed to being open and transparent with the public.”
Police later identified the man as Keith Bergman, 25, who slipped out of handcuffs while inside a patrol vehicle, grabbed an officer’s backup gun and fired at least one round out the rear window.
“Nobody wants to shoot you, bro,” an officer is heard saying in the 10-minute video amid repeated calls of “Let me see your hands!” and “Drop your weapon!”
Later, outside the squad car, he’s ordered to “get away from the vehicle” but still reaches inside, followed by three quick shots in his direction.
Slow getting up, the man is told: “Don’t reach for the gun!” A police dog rushes him, takes hold, and an officer repeatedly yells: “Lay on your stomach!”
The video that includes security camera and officer-worn camera footage is followed by a screen that says: “Once the handgun was secured, officers immediately began first aid until paramedics arrived.” The first aid isn’t shown.
The video adds that after the homicide unit completes its investigation, the incident will be reviewed by the county District Attorney’s Office “to determine if the officers bear any criminal liability for their actions.”
“The community review board on police practices also will review the incident,” and the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office will be “monitoring the investigation,” the video said.
Later on Wednesday, police identified the officers involved as Paul Yi, Michael Rodriguez and Timothy Arreola. Yi has been with the department for six years, Rodriguez for 10 months, and Arreola for eight years, authorities said.
The police internal-affairs unit will review for any possible policy violations, and a “shooting review board” will evaluate the tactics employed, it added.
The shooting happened shortly after 8 p.m. Sunday at the 1401 Broadway station, said police Lt. Andra Brown.
Bergman was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries, which were not thought to be life-threatening, Brown said.
Shortly before 6:25 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to reports of a man causing a disturbance and threatening security personnel at a downtown hotel, the lieutenant said.
Officers arrived and found that a man had already been subdued by security, Brown said. The officers then transported the man to SDPD Headquarters for processing, the lieutenant said.
“While officers were away from their patrol SUV, the male slipped out of his handcuffs and broke a divider that separates the prisoner seat area from the cargo area,” Brown said. “The male then got an officer’s gear bag that contained a secondary weapon.”
The officers returned to the patrol SUV, but noticed the man was armed with an officer’s handgun so they backed away.
On Monday, police said the man opened the rear cargo compartment and the driver’s door of the patrol vehicle, then attempted to flee on foot. But video shows him bloodied and staggering, crawling on the ground, and not fleeing.
Officers deployed a police dog, which bit the man, who was then taken into custody, Brown said.
None of the four officers involved were injured.
Updated at 8:50 p.m., Wednesday, July 8, 2020
— City News Service contributed to this report.
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