New video has been released showing a CHP officer shooting a man in June 2016, then not helping him as he laid on the ground dying. It takes over 20 minutes for back up officers to arrive and start CPR, but it is too late by then.
Within eight seconds, Daniel Shaham emerges from the driver’s side, and Shadwell draws his pistol and aims it at the 31-year-old Sacramento man, who appears to have something in his right hand. Sixteen seconds later, Shadwell opens fire, shooting Shaham four times and killing him.
Shadwell calls in the shooting, but the video doesn’t show him trying to help the young man on the ground. Instead, he puts up police tape. Eventually other officers arrive and begin CPR on Shaham – 23 minutes after he is shot.
The incident occurred in June 2016 on the Interstate 5 overpass near Yreka, and has brought a federal wrongful death lawsuit.
“It’s shocking,” said Oakland attorney Michael Haddad, who is suing the CHP on behalf of Shaham’s mother, Sacramento physician Denise Smart. “It’s one of the most notorious shooting videos I’ve seen. If you just believe your own eyes watching the video, anyone can see Daniel is no threat.”
Siskiyou County law enforcement disagrees disagree, saying Shaham had a folding knife in his right hand and that the use of deadly force was justified, even though the man did not seem to threaten the officer. But simply holding a pocket knife is enough for police to support killing someone.
“He believed and was afraid that Shaham was going to try to kill him,” District Attorney Kirk Andrus wrote in his on the shooting. “He discharged his firearm to stop that threat.”
He lies on the police radio, calling it a combat shooting, but there was clearly no combat. There was only an officer ordering a man out of his car, then shooting him when he gets out.
The video records Shadwell after the shooting reporting over the radio that he has been involved in a “combat shooting” and that the suspect is “1144,” or likely dead. The recording shows Shadwell subsequently stringing police tape along the roadway as he awaits assistance in the remote area, and waving a passing car away from the scene. But it does not show him approaching the body or providing medical assistance.
About 19 minutes later, other officers arrived on scene and begin performing CPR, 23 minutes after the shooting. They continue for about 12 minutes.
SacBee reported on the incidents leading up to the killing:
Shaham, a former chemistry major at Sacramento State, was on a driving vacation in the northern part of the state when he was killed. His mother’s lawyer has described him as mentally ill but “moderate- to high-functioning” and said he enjoyed driving in the countryside.
The day he was killed, Shaham had pulled over on Louie Road over the interstate, and passers-by reported him looking down at the roadway or attempting to climb onto the guardrail.
At about 10 a.m., Shadwell responded to a 911 call about Shaham’s behavior and approached him as Shaham was standing near his car. The video shows the CHP officer chatting with Shaham briefly, then walking away and getting into his vehicle as Shaham slowly gets back into his own car.
“Shaham walked toward Officer Shadwell, who asked him if he was all right,” the District Attorney’s report on the shooting stated. “Shaham responded that he was and was simply watching traffic.
“Officer Shadwell asked him if he was suicidal. Shaham responded that he was ‘good.’ This contact ended at 10:06 a.m.”
After Shadwell returned to his patrol car, he backed up and continued to watch Shaham sitting in his car. The officer also read comments on his computer from a passerby who had reported the man had been on top of the guardrail and “he decided to re-contact Shaham and ask him about his actions,” the district attorney’s report says.
The second video recording shows Shadwell approach Shaham’s car on the passenger side and saying something through the closed window. Shaham starts to get out of the driver’s side of the car. Shadwell pulls his pistol out and backs up a few steps as he aims it at Shaham and begins barking commands.
The recording provided by the CHP did not include audio on this portion, but the DA’s report says Shadwell saw Shaham inside the car holding a folding knife with a four- to five-inch blade that he was opening and partially closing with his thumb.
That prompted Shadwell to order Shaham several times to put the knife away, the report says.
“Instead, Shaham got out of his car with the knife still in his hand,” the report states, adding that Shadwell drew his weapon and “retreated back toward his patrol car while giving continuous commands to ‘stop’ and ‘drop the knife.’ ”
That is about the time the officer decided to shoot him multiple times and refuse to offer any medical help.
The report concluded that Shaham could have charged Shadwell and stabbed him within one second, or that he could have “thrown the knife at Officer Shadwell with virtually no warning.”
Haddad disputes the conclusions, saying the video provides proof that Shadwell could have defused the situation without shooting Shaham, and adding that he believes the knife is folded closed in the video, despite the fact that the footage is blurred.
“It’s really sad,” Haddad said. “What’s so shocking to me is you can see the officer is not facing an immediate threat of death or serious harm, which the law requires.
“They’re required to consider alternatives, and Daniel, who he knew by then was mentally ill, was far from a deadly force threat. This situation had not yet begun to escalate where it even approached the need for any force. This one is as shocking and unjustified a shooting as any we’ve seen.”
Watch the full length video of the incident:
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)