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Family Of Mountain View Man Killed By SDPD Makes Claim Against City

A memorial for 39-year-old Jose Alfredo Castro Gutierrez who was shot by San ...

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Above: A memorial for 39-year-old Jose Alfredo Castro Gutierrez who was shot by San Diego Police officers in the city’s Mountain View neighborhood on Oct. 19, 2020.

Jose Castro Gutierrez was panicking and confused a month ago when he asked his neighbors to call the police. Within minutes of their arrival, one of the officers had shot him dead.

Now, his widow, Ana Ojeda, filed a claim against the city Thursday — the first step in an eventual lawsuit from the family.

Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nadler.

"We demand justice to clarify the excessive use of force used by the police,” Ojeda said during a virtual press conference on Thursday morning.

She was joined by her attorney, Eugene Iredale, and Carlos González Gutiérrez, the Consul General of México in San Diego.

“We are here to seek other ways to attend to mental illness crisis, without having to resort to death,” she told reporters.

RELATED: Mexican Consulate Reacts To Killings Of Mexican Nationals By Law Enforcement In San Diego

Reported by Max Rivlin-Nadler

Eugene Iredale, the family’s attorney, said despite some recent efforts by the San Diego Police Department to change its treatment of people in mental distress, the fatal use of force is far too common.

“The problem requires more training, more money, more psychiatric professionals,” Iredale said. “And a greater sensitivity that to police who are trained in the warrior mode of policing, not every problem is the nail to be resolved by the hammer of use-of-force.”

Video of the shooting shows Castro Guitierrez holding a curtain rod as he ran towards officers asking for help. One officer tased him, another shot him with a bean bag, and a third officer shot him.

The San Diego Police Department told KPBS on Thursday there were no new updates on the case at this time. It’s currently being reviewed by the department, its homicide unit, and the District Attorney’s office.

If any internal discipline is taken against the officer who shot Castro Guiterrez, it will be up to the police department whether to make that public.

A new commission on police practices, which was overwhelmingly passed by voters earlier this month and is likely to be established in the next year, could look into instances like this and shed more light on police use of force in San Diego.

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