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The family of Kurt Andras Reinhold has reportedly filed a wrongful death suit, after police engaged and killed him due to a supposed pedestrian violation. A video recently surfaced showing the Orange County Sheriff’s Department fatally shooting the 42-year-old Black man. The incident occurred on Sept. 2020, but the footage hadn’t been released until now.
The new video and images are compilations of police audio, dashcam footage, nearby motel surveillance, and video footage taken by a witness. The officers did not have body cameras on since the Department does not have them yet. The officers stopped Reinhold around 1:30 p.m. near Hotel Miramar at El Camino Real and Avenida San Gabriel.
Per the new recordings, “Are you going to stop or are we going to have to make you stop?” an officer asked Reinhold. “For what? For what?” he responded. “Jaywalking,” the officer replied. As one officer approaches him, Reinhold responds, “Why are you touching me?” The other officer then tries to prevent him from walking and then tackled.
An officer narrating the video said: “During the use of force one deputy is heard on the witness’ cellphone video saying, ‘He’s got my gun’ multiple times.”
They continued to struggle, and then two gunshots were heard. Officers attempted to give Reinhold CPR, but he was ultimately pronounced dead at the scene. The officers can be heard disagreeing about whether he had jaywalked or not since he had crossed at the controlled intersection.
The family released a statement saying, “The new footage released by the OC Sheriff’s office today confirms what we knew all along – the involved deputies had no reason to stop Mr. Reinhold.” The family attorney said the officers created and escalated the situation themselves. “Mr. Reinhold wasn’t in distress and didn’t pose any danger to himself or anyone else. If he wasn’t a Black man, this stop never would’ve happened, let alone the shooting that takes his life,” he added.
In a statement from last year when the claim was first filed on behalf of Reinhold’s wife and two sons, the lawyer said: “A person shouldn’t be killed for jaywalking, for being homeless or for having mental illness. The way the Orange County Sheriff’s Department handled this situation was a complete failure. Instead of using de-escalation techniques when they approached Mr. Reinhold, they continually escalated the encounter and Mr. Reinhold is now dead.” The family said Reinhold was suffering from an unspecified mental illness that led to intermittent homelessness.
The deputies are reportedly 8- and 13-year veterans who are part of a 25-member unit that attempts to engage with the homeless people and get them into service programs for mental health, drug addiction, or other issues. They are trained in de-escalation and crisis intervention.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Dec. of last year, reportedly asked for an unspecified amount of monetary damages.