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Heavily Redacted Memo Shields Notes In Fatal San Diego Police Shooting

March 10, 2016 12:30 p.m.

Heavily Redacted Memo Shields Notes In Fatal San Diego Police Shooting

GUESTS:

Chris Young, reporter, inewsource

Related Story: Heavily Redacted Memo Shields Notes In Fatal San Diego Police Shooting

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

Coming up there is no information in one information release from the San Diego Police Department. As 12:20 PM and you are listen to KPBS Midday Edition. KPBS is supported by the Pfister family foundations
This is KPBS Midday Edition I Maureen Cavanaugh. The shooting death of for duty Nehad is still the subject of controversy. Late last year San Diego District Attorney Bonnie to Manis held a news conference to release videos. There is still information that has not been released. Internal pleased documents and memos that have been requested by several media outlets including inewsource and KPBS. One of those documents was sent to the investigative reporter at inewsource this week but it did not shed must light.
Right off the bat Chris tell us what the memo you got looks like?
Completely blacked out. That was really not much information here at all from the subject line to the very end of the document. It was just completely redacted. It's just a one and half page memo. The city told me that these are meeting notes from a meeting that involved San Diego police Captain David Ms. let and -- I should note that he is in charge of overseeing homicide investigations for the Police Department. There is very little information in this document.
Just line after line of things blacked out.
Yes.
Why did you want this document?
The reason why I wanted this document is -- I filed this record request back in January. I had asked for all communications involving San Diego police Captain David Nisleit and the Nehad shooting specifically within the date range of December 16 and December 23. The reason why I requested the states -- those dates are significant because they cover the day the federal judge ruled that the video could be released through the day after District Attorney Bonnie to Manis held her news conference making the video public. The only thing that we know from what we actually got in this document from the city is that the memo was sent hours after the judge ruled that the video could be made public.
What did the police say about why the men memo was completely redacted?
The city said that releasing the memo without reductions would discourage police officials from speaking candidly during meetings and that it would also undermine the Department's ability to protect the public. But I spoke to a man named Peter Scheer is an attorney with the First Amendment Coalition and that group focuses on free speech and opening government and he said he was skeptical about the reductions. He basically said that the city didn't exactly point to anything specific in its reasoning that could cause harm if they released the document without the reductions. Piece of the city could have very easily released to those notes.
You have a clip from him.
Yes.
When suspicions become raise and questions are asked which can be completely [ Indiscernible ] if they just release it. So why not release it. I suppose one possible excuses because there is something in there that might be embarrassing.
Chris, can you remind us briefly about the background of this story? Why is there controversy surrounding the shooting death of Mr. Nahant.
This goes back to last April and that is when Nehad was shot in a Midway District alley late at night. Officer Neal Browder had responded to the reports saying that Nehad wasn't threatening people with a knife. So the officer showed up at the scene and shortly after getting there had gone out of his car and shot Nehad as he was walking slowly toward the officer. It appeared to almost come to a stop when that -- when he was shot. The shooting was caught by a surveillance camera that was nearby the scene. Bonnie Dumanis the district attorney in November had concluded that the shooting was justified and they decided not to press charges against the officer but the Nehad family has filed a federal lawsuit a wrongful death lawsuit against the city's police department. But when the video was eventually released in December, it raised some doubts when people look at it that Nehad actually pose a serious threat to the officer. That is the crux of why this was controversial.
You've told us that you have these requests in to the San Diego Police Department for documents saying of course he received that redacted document. We look forward to finding more about this case?
As I mentioned the family of Nehad had filed this federal wrongful death lawsuit against the city police department that is still in the process of working its way through. They are going through discovery now. Eventually a lot to be learned down the road about what happened that night and even more from -- azygos forward.
I've been speaking with Chris Young reporter with inewsource. Thank you so much.