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SDPD To Investigate Officer-Involved Shooting

The question of why a veteran San Diego policeman did not activate his uniform-worn camera prior to a confrontation during which he fatally shot a suspect behind a Midway District sex shop will be part of the San Diego Police Department's internal investigation into the death, department officials confirmed Tuesday.

"In any officer-involved shooting, we conduct a very methodical, comprehensive and thorough investigation, and that question will be answered during the investigation," Chief Shelley Zimmerman said in a prepared statement.

Shortly after midnight Thursday, Officer Neal Browder encountered Fridoon Zalbeg Rawshannehad, 42, while responding to a report of a knife- wielding man threatening people inside and outside Hi-Lite Theater and Book Store on Hancock Street, officials said.

Rawshannehad allegedly advanced on Browder in a dark alley to the rear of the shop and ignored the lawman's commands to halt, prompting the 27-year department veteran to open fire. Medics took Rawshannehad to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Detectives investigating the officer-involved shooting determined that Browder had not activated his so-called "body camera" prior to the locating the suspect, Lt. Mike Hastings told reporters. It was not immediately clear why he did not do so, the lieutenant said.

Over the last year, the SDPD has been outfitting hundreds of its sworn personnel with uniform cameras. Department policy directs officers to turn on the audio-video recording devices prior to most public interactions, except when there isn't time due to an emergency, when interviewing victims of sex crimes or child abuse, or when citizens' legal right to privacy would be violated by such matters as nudity or medical issues.

Increasing numbers of U.S. law enforcement agencies are equipping their personnel with unobtrusive clip-on video cameras for the dual purpose of responding to growing public concern about police use of force and protecting officers from baseless accusations of misconduct.

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