The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday that it has cleared nine local police officers who are potentially criminally responsible for uses of force, including two fatal shootings and one death in custody.
The four incidents featured in the DA reviews refer to officers from the San Diego, Escondido and Chula Vista police departments, as well as the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
– April 21, 2021, shot dead 59 years old Steven Olson in Escondido.
Olson was shot by Escondido Police Officer Chad Moore near the intersection of Broadway and Second Avenue. Escondido police allege Olson assaulted the officer while holding a crowbar.
The DA review says that when Moore arrived on the scene, he repeatedly told Olson to put down the crowbar. Olson approached Moore, who backed away from Olson, and told him to once again drop the crowbar or he would shoot, according to the DA’s Office.
Once Olson arrived “within the distance to Moore,” the officer “afraid Olson would attack him with a crowbar,” and opened fire.
Olson was taken to Palomar Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
The DA review alleges Moore didn’t have time to switch from his firearm to a less lethal option like the stun gun. Moore is also a K-9 officer, but cannot use his police dog as he will not be able to control the dog and pay attention to Olson, thus potentially endangering those around him, according to the DA Office.
Olson’s brother, Michael Olson, told the San Diego Union-Tribune earlier this year that the shooting was an example of excessive force. One of Olson’s friends, JC McCusker, questioned why Moore initially pulled out his gun and why he didn’t take out Olson instead, in an interview with the newspaper.
– March 12, 2020, the death of a 56-year-old detainee Oral nunis in Chula Vista, attended by five officers.
Police were called shortly before midnight by one of Nunis’s daughters, who said her father was trying to jump out of a second-story window of the house.
According to the DA’s assessment, Nunis attempted to flee from arresting officers and was tied to the ground and handcuffed.
He is then placed in a “restrictive WRAP device”, sometimes called a hood, a mesh cloth sack placed over the subject’s head. The DA review said this was booked for Nunis “after he started spitting on the ground.”
He was then taken to an ambulance, where he stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest.
Nunis was taken to Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, where he died.
An autopsy revealed his cause of death was sudden arrest in the cardiology department while in police custody, with the manner of death “unspecified,” according to the DA’s review, in which The medical examiner was unable to determine why Nunis was arrested in the cardiology clinic, but suggested it could have been a euphoric delirium-type scenario. “
ME also suggested that it was possible that Nunis had “some type of undiagnosed disorder that altered his mental state enough to make him agitated to the point of arousing delirium, where he was prone to confusion.” Sudden heartbeat in the post-euphoric phase. his sense of being enhanced or changed. “
No drugs or alcohol were detected in a blood sample taken from Nunis, the report states.
The DA’s review cleared Chula Vista officers Evan Linney, Manuel Padilla, Brian Olson, David Rivers and Jordan Salvador of the charge, saying there was “no evidence of significant acute trauma as determined by the examiner” health workers which may have been a contributing factor to Nunis’ death.”
The DA office claims that Nunis was breathing and able to talk after the force was applied, which did not involve a knee into Nunis’ neck, head or back.
Nunis’ family members have filed a wrongful death lawsuit in both San Diego state and federal court against the city of Chula Vista and the officers involved. Pointing to Nunis’s small size, his family alleges the officers’ use of force contributed to the death and that they should have done more to reduce the situation, as Nunis was clearly experiencing through a mental health crisis.
– June 18, 2021, shot and killed a 40-year-old man Eric Anderson in Encinitas.
San Diego County Sheriff James Clone and Sean Zppia responded just after 8 a.m. to a report of a man sleeping in an empty lot.
When he checked to see if he was arrested, Anderson ran away, according to the DA’s assessment. After being pursued, Anderson then pointed a handgun at Zappia, the DA Office said, prompting both deputies to open fire, striking Anderson multiple times. He later died at the hospital.
Both deputies were cleared of criminal responsibility, with the DA’s Office claiming Anderson “created a situation of deadly force by pointing a handgun at Zappia.”
– February 25, 2021, 69-year-old fatal shooting Stephen Wilson in downtown San Diego.
San Diego police officer Kelly Besker was flagged by a passerby when he said he saw a homeless man, later identified as Wilson, who was armed with a knife.
Besker encountered Wilson near the intersection of Third Avenue and G Street, where Wilson denied having a knife.
According to the DA’s assessment, Besker “planned to detain and handcuff Wilson to investigate whether he was carrying a knife,” but Wilson told the officer to “step back.” As Wilson turned away, Besker saw a knife sticking out of Wilson’s back pocket and told Wilson not to reach for the knife.
Wilson pulled the 5-inch blade from his pocket and dropped the knife when Besker fired three times. The DA review said the men were four meters apart when Besker opened fire.
Wilson was hospitalized with gunshot wounds to the groin, buttocks, and left lower thigh.
The DA review said Besker reasonably believed Wilson posed a threat, “because Wilson was looking for a long kitchen knife that he denies carrying.”
https://timesofsandiego.com/crime/2021/12/17/da-clears-9-officers-in-use-of-force-incidents-including-2-fatal-shootings-in-custody-death/ DA Eliminated 9 officers in incidents of use of force, including 2 fatal shootings, fatal on the spot