Originally published on July 16, 2015, at NationofChange.org
After remaining sealed for over two years, the videos of police officers shooting two unarmed innocent men were released to the public by a U.S. district judge on Tuesday. Although several law enforcement organizations fought to keep the footage suppressed, U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson decided to release the videos in favor of the public’s interest. After watching the videos, the families of the victims have called on the Department of Justice to investigate the Gardena Police Department.
At 2:30 a.m. on June 2, 2013, Sgt. Christopher Cuff responded to a 911 call regarding a possible robbery. Although the caller had simply reported a stolen bicycle, the dispatcher misinterpreted the theft report as a robbery with unknown weapons involved. Observing two men riding in front of a Carrows restaurant, Sgt. Cuff mistook them as thieves and ordered them to stop.
After encountering the police sergeant, Eutiquio Acevedo Mendez and Garcia Jose Amado put their hands in the air while attempting to explain to the officer that they were helping their friend look for his stolen bike. Although Sgt. Cuff had been wearing his audio recorder at the time, he did not turn it on because he later claimed that activating the device would have distracted him.