Fatal Shooting of Detainee by Sheriff’s Deputy

May 4, 2020

We learned with sorrow yesterday that a 36-year-old man was fatally shot by a Sheriff’s Deputy outside the jail in downtown San Diego.  The man had been in the custody of California Park Rangers, who say he had been arrested for “assault with a deadly weapon” on a park employee. 

We all remember last year the passage of AB-392, that raised the standard of lethal force to “when necessary to save human life.” While we will pass no judgment until a thorough investigation has been done, this shooting raises many troubling questions. 

While it might seem at first blush that a man arrested for assault with a deadly weapon would pose a threat to human life, we are unconvinced.

This man had already been in law enforcement custody.  He would have been searched and any weapons he had would have been confiscated.  We may therefore assume he was unarmed.

The sheriff’s deputy was one of two deputies arriving for work, not a detail arranged to receive this man from the Park Rangers.  How then, would they have known that this man was charged with a potentially serious crime?

Perhaps there are good explanations for this.  What is absolutely certain is that this case is one the NAACP San Diego Branch will follow with keen interest.

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

Please see followup article: Resignation of Deputy is Not Enough