DA clears deputy who killed Black man after suspected jaywalking
Orange County prosecutors ruled that Deputy Eduardo Duran was justified in his shooting of a homeless Black man.
An Orange County sheriff who fatally shot an unarmed homeless Black man in 2020 will not be facing criminal charges, according to the district attorney’s office.
In dashcam footage released to the public, deputies Eduardo Duran and Jonathan Israel are seen following 42-year-old Kurt Andras Reinhold in their police cruiser before stopping him on suspicion of jaywalking in a San Clemente neighborhood.
The duo then proceeded to detain Reinhold, at one point wrestling him to the ground, before Reinhold, they said, grabbed Israel’s gun holster, prompting Duran to fire two shots at him.
The two officers are a part of the department’s homeless outreach liaison.
"Kurt Andras Reinhold, a 42-year-old Black man, was shot dead last Wednesday by two deputies from Orange County Sheriff’s Homeless Outreach Team. Mr. Reinhold did not need an officer; he needed a home.” https://t.co/mmceCxzVXS
— The Appeal (@theappeal) October 1, 2020
“It is clear from the evidence in this case that Deputy Duran did not commit a crime, and that he was justified when he shot Reinhold,” said Assistant Dist. Atty. Stephen McGreevy in a 20-page letter outlining their investigation.
Prosecutors said that after reviewing the footage of the incident and interviewing the officers and several witnesses, Duran was found to be in the right.
In a 12-minute video compilation of the dashcam, cellphone and surveillance footage, the two officers were seen watching Reinhold for several minutes before he was seen jaywalking.
“Watch this, he’s going to jaywalk,” one of the cops is heard saying as they pull up to Reinhold.
The other cop responds, “Don’t make case law.”
The video doesn’t capture the moment the cops exit their vehicle, but one is heard saying, “Are you going to stop or are we going to have to make you stop?”
“For what,” Reinhold responds.
After the cops told Reinhold that he was jaywalking, he responded by saying that their claims are “ridiculous” because he was just walking and tells them to stop touching him.
The officers are then seen trying to direct a visibly upset Reinhold back to the sidewalk, before they tackle him to the ground.
One of the cops is heard yelling “he’s got my gun,” which seemingly corroborates a previously released still photo of Reinhold’s hand near the gun. However, it is unclear if he took the weapon out of its holster.
“These officers are supposedly trained to deal with the homeless,” said John Taylor, an attorney representing Reinhold’s widow, Latoya Reinhold. “They needed to deescalate the situation, rather than escalate it.”
Reinhold’s family, including his 7-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter, filed a claim for wrongful death in December 2020.
“Jaywalking should not get you killed in Orange County. Being homeless should not get you killed in Orange County,” said Taylor, adding that Reinhold suffered from mental health issues in the past.
Attorneys for the family said that they were disappointed but not surprised by the prosecutor’s decision on Friday.
Their lawsuit against the department is still ongoing.
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