Earlier that day, a federal judge ruled that there was a strong public interest in releasing the footage, rejecting the city’s argument that it had settled a lawsuit over the shooting for $4.7 million with the belief the video would be kept secret.
“The fact that they spent the city’s money, presumably derived from taxes, only strengthens the public’s interest in seeing the videos,” wrote Judge Stephen V. Wilson in his decision. “Moreover, defendants cannot assert a valid compelling interest in sealing the videos to cover up any wrongdoing on their part or to shield themselves from embarrassment.”
Diaz-Zeferino was gunned down on June, 2, 2013, after police responded to a call that a bicycle had been stolen from a nearby pharmacy and noticed two men riding bikes.
The victim approached the officers and attempted to explain that his brother had reported the bicycle stolen and that the two men were not thieves but his friends, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit alleges that police shot Diaz-Zeferino eight times and that he laid on the street, crying out in Spanish “Hasta aqui llegue” or “This is the end of me.”
Gardena police maintained the shooting was justified because the victim was acting erratically and reached into his waistband despite a command to raise his hands.
“I think it is really helpful for the public to understand why they would be willing to pay $4.7 million to settle the case when we were on the eve of trial,” Paz said. “When the public sees the video and other law enforcement agencies see the video, this is very much a criminal act.”