Dashcam and Surveillance Video of Incident Released
(CA) – On Friday, dashcam and surveillance video was finally released on an incident that happened September 23 of last year.
On that day, Kurt Andras Reinhold was crossing the street at the controlled intersection. Two deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department called out for Mr. Reinhold to stop. When he didn’t one of them calls out, “Are you going to stop or are we going to have to make you stop?” Reinhold, who suffers from mental illness, answered back, “For what? For what?” The officers respond, “Jaywalking.” The situation goes downhill from there. The officers involved in the shooting are part of the Sheriff’s homeless outreach team. One would think they would have been given some training in how to deal with homeless people, who frequently are individuals with mental illness or other issues. Instead, the officers resorted to use of force. The audio captures two shots being fired. Mr. Reinhold was killed.
Excessive Force Used for Jaywalking Offense
The two deputies were supposed to be helping the homeless get access to services that could benefit them. It’s unknown why they felt the need to harass a man they weren’t even sure had committed a crime. According to EastBayTimes.com,
“The Officers can be heard disagreeing about whether he had jaywalked or not since he had crossed at the controlled intersection.”
Attorney John Taylor further said in the statement that the officers “created and escalated” the confrontation.
Why did the deputies focus on Mr. Reinhold? Why did they threaten him with a piddly charge of jaywalking? Why did they feel it was so important that they needed to tackle Mr. Reinhold to the ground? Why do these excessive uses of force almost always happen to be used against minorities, particularly Black people?
Was it a Justified Shooting?
The video screen capture does appear to show Mr. Reinhold reaching for the gun of one of the deputies, but we can’t forget how they got to that point. I’d like to point out that we all break laws without even knowing it. If an officer wants to stop you, all he needs to do is watch for a while and he can probably find something. The deputies targeted Mr. Reinhold and used jaywalking as their excuse. They approached him and demanded he stop. When he didn’t, they threatened him by accusing him of a crime. When that didn’t work, they physically attempted to stop him, eventually going so far as to tackle him to the ground.
Was the shooting justified? It may have been if, in that one snapshot of time and with more information, when Mr. Reinhold is trying to get the gun, the deputy felt his life was in danger. However, I have to agree with the family’s attorney when he says that the deputies “created and escalated” the situation. We can’t forget their part in a situation that resulted in a man’s death.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed by Family
The family of Kurt Andras Reinhold has filed a lawsuit against Orange County for the wrongful death of Mr. Reinhold at the hands of Orange County deputies. According to the OCRegister.com,
The lawsuit also alleges that the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Homeless Outreach Team – which the deputies involved in the shooting were members of – is “ill-equipped to deal with mentally ill subjects and disproportionately targets and detains persons of color in Orange County.”
Regardless of what the result of the lawsuit ends up being, another unarmed Black man has been killed.