Fellow Officer Says Cops Were NOT In Danger When They Shot Suicidal Vet (VIDEO)

This week, four Fresno County, California police officers appeared in federal court over allegations of civil rights violations, including excessive force and ‘callous disregard for human rights.’

The case was brought by Esperanza Booke, sister of the late Charles Salinas.

Salinas, a 46-year-old veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, called 911 on June 15, 2012. During the call he stated that he was suicidal and wanted to die.

Salinas was later gunned down by three officers who were dispatched to the scene.

Sanger police Sgt. Jason Boust and officers Preston Little and Angela Yambupah all opened fire on Salinas. He was struck at least 11 times by bullets sprayed from the officer’s semi-automatic weapons.

According to the federal suit, after killing Salinas, the officers were allowed to meet in a room at police headquarters for at least four hours, before they were ever interviewed by police investigators.

The family’s attorney claims that the officers used this time to plan how they would cover up their actions.

The cops claim that they opened fire on the unarmed veteran after he made a series of sudden movements, which led them to believe that he was reaching for a weapon.

What the cops did not know at the time, however, is that the shooting was captured on cellphone video, by a bystander.

While the video has not been made public, it reportedly does not support the officer’s testimony. Instead it shows that “there was no lunging or jumping at the officers.”

What’s more, on February 17, Fresno County sheriff Sgt. Joshua McCahill, testified that his fellow officers were NOT in danger when they opened fire on the suicidal veteran.

According to McCahill, he was speaking with Salinas, who was sitting unarmed in a flower garden, when the other officers arrived on the scene. He testified that he did not believe his life was in danger.

McCahill was the only officer on the scene who did not fire a weapon during the encounter.

He testified that just before the other cops opened fire on Salinas, he called out to them to “bag” him, a term used to describe firing on a suspect with a non-lethal shotgun.

Instead, the three officers turned their AR-15 rifles on Salinas. According to witnesses, the officers continued to shoot, even after the marine veteran had fallen to the ground.

When asked why he did not shoot Salinas, McCahill said “because it was a non-lethal situation.”

According to Salinas family, he was suffering from PTSD.

During the call to 911, Charles Salinas told the dispatch operator that he had no desire to hurt anyone other than himself.

“Let the record show that I would not even scratch a law enforcement officer,” Salinas told the dispatch operator.

When conveying the nature of the situation to police, the 911 operator stated “He says he won’t hurt you, but he wants to do a suicide by cop.”

Listen to the 911 tape below, courtesy of The Fresno Bee.

This was an opportunity for law enforcement officers to do something good. There was plenty of room for these cops to use non-lethal force. Instead, they chose to end the life of Charles Salinas, a military veteran suffering from PTSD and depression.

Reasonable force is defined as a level of force which would be used by ‘any reasonable law enforcement officer in the same situation.’

In this situation there was only one reasonable law enforcement officer on the other scene. That officer did not fire his weapon.


Image credit: video screen capture from The Fresno Bee