La Mesa Police Release Bodycam Video, ID Officer Who Shot Grandmother With Bean Bag Round During Protest
Speaker 1: 00:01 The Lamesa police department has released a video montage of the events surrounding the bean bag shooting of African American protest. Leslie, for crime, the incident happened during the May 30th demonstration outside Lamesa police headquarters. One of many protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd. 59 year old, Leslie for Crohn was shot in the forehead with a beanbag by police. She was badly injured and continues to suffer a loss of vision in one eye. According to where Turney the video of the shooting taken from police body cam was shot at night, and it's not completely clear, but Lamesa police say it shows for Chron throwing something in the direction of Sheriff's deputies before she was shot by Ella Mesa police detective joining me is KPBS reporter max Rivlin, Nadler, and max. Welcome. Hi, we now know the name of the police detective who shot for Crohn. Who is he and what have Lamesa police disclosed about him? Speaker 2: 00:59 Yeah, and a release, uh, late yesterday, they identified him as detective Eric Knudsen, a 12 year veteran of the police department. They say since the incident, since the protest, he's been on administrative leave as, uh, the investigation into possible criminality of his actions is being undertaken by both the department and the district attorney, Speaker 1: 01:19 The shooting incident is captured from Newton's vantage point. He was quite a distance away from Leslie for Chron. When the shot was fired, wasn't he Speaker 2: 01:28 Detective was around 96 feet away. According to the video released by the Lamesa police department, he was, um, you know, behind a, a small barrier and on a little ledge right next to the police department. Um, in fact, he was, he was so far away at the moment, uh, right after he shot. He said that, you know, he had been shooting at a man, so he couldn't get a clear view of the Lesley for Crohn, who is in her late fifties. And, uh, you know, obviously a woman and a grandmother at that Speaker 1: 02:00 Here's audio from the police video as the shot was fired. Speaker 2: 02:14 [inaudible] Speaker 1: 02:15 Now, obviously, as you said, the police detective thought that Leslie for Chron was a man when he fired that shot. So is the police officer, therefore the police detective anywhere near the direction that for Chron was allegedly throwing the object? Speaker 2: 02:33 No, the object was not being thrown at this specific detective at the parking lot. At that time. Sheriff's deputies had cleared out the parking lot after several rounds of tear gas, as well as Lamesa police department, uh, officers and Sheriff's deputies firing these being backgrounds from the top and side of the police department. So the parking lot was fairly clear in which she was throwing an object towards were these Sheriff's deputies who were in the parking, um, overhead video and, and my vantage point at the time, cause I was there, um, the object that she threw got nowhere close to where the deputies were. And in fact, you know, from what you hear the officer staying after he's shot, it's unclear whether he was saying that this was a person who was throwing moments before or had been throwing objects throughout the day. Speaker 1: 03:22 And we do actually see on the video, some objects coming towards the direction of the police detective who shot the bean bag, the some objects coming to that balcony from protestors toward police. Isn't that right? Speaker 2: 03:37 Yeah. Earlier in the day, um, you know, obviously the video released here is showing the police perspective. It's what the, uh, law enforcement would like the public to see about the incident. Obviously a lot more is going to be handed over to the district attorney as well as mr. Crohn's lawyers. Um, you know, they're showing these eight officers, um, getting pelted by rocks. There's several large rocks that are thrown, that were taken from landscape around the, uh, police department. Um, so it's showing that from their vantage point, there were several projectiles coming at them. Um, but it's not showing as the perspective of the protestors who at the same time we're dealing with, uh, tear gas, bean bags, um, things like that. And not only protesters, but people who had kind of just come to see what was watching. Cause I was often across the street and still having to Dodge bean bags and tear gas as well. Speaker 1: 04:28 Remind us about the injury that Leslie for Crohn's suffered. Speaker 2: 04:31 So the shooting left for crown with, um, multiple fractures to her skull and, um, uh, at least, um, as of June 23rd had blinded her on her left eye. Um, it was unclear if she will regain use of that eye. Um, and there haven't been any updates in her condition since then Speaker 1: 04:49 She's filed a claim against the city of Lamesa accusing police of excessive force. What has her attorney said about the release of this police body cam footage? Speaker 2: 04:59 I've I've reached out to the, uh, lawyer, Dante Prada I've yet to hear back, but he did tell the union Tribune last night, uh, after the body camera footage was released, that it was showing a can thrown by, you know, a grandmother, not something that would have been retaliated against by a beanbag, you know, to, to her face. Speaker 1: 05:18 Now most of the video released by Lamesa police contains images of the whole day of demonstrations. And the shooting only makes up about two minutes of the seven minute video have police given any reason for that. Speaker 2: 05:32 We haven't, I mean, it's tough when you have instances incidents like this, that stretch out for an entire day to give the entire context and kind of a fairly condensed video we've seen in other use of force incidents that have been released lately. We get the body camera footage from before, during, and after the incident here, it's only a small slice, but what they're trying to do is put, put it in the context of kind of the, the heightened tension around police station that day, again, as I said, you know, that's only one perspective, it's the police officer's perspective and it's law enforcement's perspective, and they're totally entitled on their YouTube channel to put that out there and try to kind of push exactly what they were up against on that day. But a lot more is going to come out about this case and about exactly what happened at Lamesa on, on that day as the district attorney and plaintiff's lawyers and civil rights advocates, who've announced several lawsuits stemming from the protest in early June. Um, get much, much more discovery from what happened, because as you saw, there was a ton of video taken from social media, body camera footage, surveillance, helicopter. These are things that are all going to be disclosed in a matter of time Speaker 3: 06:39 Is the Lamesa police response to the shooting of Leslie for Chron. Speaker 2: 06:45 So from day one, they've been deeply apologetic about, um, you know, the, the fact that she was injured during this incident. Um, they haven't at any point kind of claimed liability because obviously this is now a legal matter. They've said they're praying for her recovery. And here's what, uh, chief Walt Vasquez said in a release last night that accompanied the body camera footage, that we will continue to nurture a safer place to live. So they want to move forward after this incident and try to, uh, as he says, heal the wounds because this was a protest that eventually turned into a night of destruction of local businesses. And, um, you know, a lot of people there are hoping that it sparks larger conversations about relationships between local law enforcement and citizens and Lamesa and how the situation was able to get to a point where, you know, we saw somebody have permanent damage from a shot, one single shot, you know, from a police officer during an entire day of, of here to, for peaceful protests. Speaker 3: 07:59 I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, max Revlin, Adler and max. Thank you. Thank you.