A Northern California transit agency on Wednesday released a body camera video recording showing one of its police officer fatally shooting a man tussling with another man.
The 52-second video clip captured Bay Area Rapid Transit officer Joseph Mateu shooting Sahleem Tindle, 28, three times in the back outside the West Oakland BART station on January 3.
BART released the clip after several media outlets broadcast a shorter version of the clip posted to the Facebook page of Tindle’s brother.
BART Police Chief Carl Rojas said the shorter clip was recorded when the Oakland Police showed Tindle’s family the footage. Oakland police are leading the investigation because the shooting occurred on a city sidewalk across the street from a BART station.
The footage starts with Mateu inside the station talking to a woman accused of fare evasion. Two gunshots could be heard outside, a woman screams and commuters are seen frantically running into the station.
‘What happened?’ Mateu shouts. Someone responds, ‘They’re shooting.’
Mateu draws his gun and runs out of the station toward the gunfire, shouting several times for directions to the shooting.
After sprinting for about 20 seconds, the officer encounters two men wrestling on a sidewalk.
‘Let me see your hands, let me see your hands, both of you, both of you,’ he shouts at the brawlers.
He screams ‘Let me see your hands’ two more times as he gets within a few feet of the fighting men and then fires three rounds in quick succession into Tindle’s back.
The mortally wounded man falls onto his stomach and then rolls over on his back and raises his hands.
BART also released two still images taken from the clip, which the police chief says shows a gun, circled in yellow in the screenshots, which Tindle used to shoot the other man in the leg.
A gun was recovered at the scene and can be seen lying on the sidewalk in the video after Tindle is shot.
Tindle’s family, has filed a legal claim with BART alleging the officer fired before he determined that Tindle had a gun. If BART denies the claim, the family’s lawyer John Burris said a wrongful death lawsuit will be filed.
LaRon Mayfield, Tindle’s brother, characterized the shooting as an ‘unjustified murder.’
‘My brother didn’t even know who shot him until he turned around with hands up, and then he saw it was the police,’ Mayfield told NBC Bay Area. ‘My brother didn’t have no gun in his hand.’
Rojas, the transit agency police chief, said the officer acted heroically by running toward gunfire. Mateu has returned to active duty, Rojas said.
Oakland police and the Alameda County district attorney said they are each investigating the shooting and declined further comment.
Tindle leaves behind two children: an eight-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter.
On February 13, dozens of protesters led by Tindle’s mother, Yolanda Banks-Reed, gathered in front of the West Oakland BART station carrying signs and demanding that the District Attorney’s office file charges against Officer Mateu, reported ABC 7 News.
A shooting nine years ago at another Oakland BART station led to unrest and large demonstrations.
Former BART Officer Johannes Mehserle was sentenced to two years in prison after he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for fatally shooting Oscar Grant on Jan. 1, 2009, on an Oakland train platform. Mehserle is white; Grant was black and unarmed.
Grant’s story, and the shooting, were the basis for the 2013 film “Fruitvale Station.”