Update On Man With Dementia Shot By Bakersfield Police

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 9 months ago

CBS News:

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A 73-year-old man with dementia fatally shot by police had a crucifix – not a gun – as officers were led to believe, Bakersfield police said Wednesday.

A coroner found the plastic crucifix on Francisco Serna well after an officer fatally shot him near his home just after midnight Monday, Sgt. Gary Carruesco said.

It’s still unclear if a 911 caller who had reported a man with a gun may have mistaken the crucifix for a weapon, as Serna’s family speculated.

Officer Reagan Selman fired at Serna seven times after the grandfather refused repeated commands to take his hand out of his pocket and stop walking toward police, incoming Bakersfield police Chief Lyle Martin said at a news conference Tuesday.

In addition to the 911 caller, Martin said two people who had encountered Serna hours before the shooting thought he was armed.

Meanwhile Serna’s family is calling his death murder. They say they want an independent investigation into the shooting and for the U.S. Justice Department to look into whether police violated Serna’s civil rights.

“It’s difficult to accept that our dad’s life ended so brutally, abruptly and with such excessive violence,” according to a family statement. “Our dad was treated like a criminal, and we feel like he was left to die alone without his family by his side.”

Officer Selman, who had been on the force about 16 months, was placed on routine administrative leave, as were the other officers at the scene.

Martin said it was an extremely difficult set of circumstances for an officer fearing a man with a gun and a terrible situation for everyone involved. “This is a very tragic incident for their family, for this community as a whole and for the police department,” he said.

Martin could not say how many of the seven shots hit Serna.

The shooting came about 20 to 30 seconds after a woman who had encountered Serna pointed him out to police as he walked out of his house across the street and toward them, Martin said.

Earlier on Sunday afternoon, Martin said another neighbor encountered Serna, saying his hand was in his jacket pocket as though he had a gun. Serna tried to force his way into the house of the neighbor, who called his behavior bizarre, Martin said.

Serna left, and the neighbor, who had recognized him, did not immediately report the incident.

Then about eight hours later, the woman who lives across the street from Serna was getting out of a car in her driveway when he came up behind her and asked her to get back into the car. The woman also saw Serna’s hand in his jacket pocket and thought he had a gun, Martin said.

The woman and a friend she was with ran into the house, and her boyfriend called police and said a man in the driveway had a revolver and was brandishing it at the women, Martin said.

So our suspicion was correct and there was no gun.  The officer reacted prematurely, and as for the caller, this sounds like the story you tell in a circle when you’re teenagers whispering mouth to ear, mouth to ear, and by the time it gets to the last person the message is so garbled it doesn’t even resemble what was said to begin with.  You’ve played that little game in church youth group, yes?

Except in this case someone died.  And I consider this no different than Swatting, which is a crime.  The caller filed a false police report giving information he didn’t really know.

So will the caller be held responsible?  Will the police officer be held responsible?


Comments

  1. On December 15, 2016 at 4:57 pm, Ned Weatherby said:

    As usual, when the facts come out, it’s always worse. Shooting a guy with a crucifix. Any bets to whether or not “procedure” was followed or not? Because murdering someone while dressed in blue requires “procedure.” Otherwise, an officer could lose a few paid weeks.

  2. On December 15, 2016 at 9:51 pm, UNCLEELMO said:

    I notice ‘paid administrative leave’ has morphed into ‘routine administrative leave’.
    I wonder why that would be.

  3. On December 16, 2016 at 7:27 pm, Jack Crabb said:

    I think even the most calloused-kneed copsuckers are going to have a difficult time justifying this one.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Police and was published December 14th, 2016 by Herschel Smith.

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