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Appeals Court Reinstates SDPD Shooting Suit, Stonewall Memories, Weekend Events

 July 12, 2019 at 11:39 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:01 A lawsuit against the city in an officer involved shooting death of an unarmed man can now move forward plus a conversation with a stone wall survivor. I'm jade Hindman. This is k PBS midday edition. Speaker 1: 00:23 It's Friday, July 12th a federal appeals court has reinstated the lawsuit filed by the family of Free Dune Nihad who was killed by San Diego police back in 2015 the ninth us circuit court of Appeals says there are questions about the officer's credibility and whether the use of force was objective. Really reasonable. The decision also puts into question how San Diego police investigate their shootings. Greg Moran is a reporter with the San Diego Union Tribune who's been covering this and joins us with more on the new development. Greg, welcome. Hi Jade. Remind us again the circumstances around the shooting death of Free Dune Neihardt and what happened the night he was shot. Speaker 2: 01:06 Yeah. This was a a shooting, a fatal shooting in an alleyway in the midway just after midnight on April 30th, 2015 so this case has been going on for awhile. There had been a report. The officer involved was responding to report of a, a man with a knife threatening people. And the officer Neil Browder, um, drove his police car, uh, to the top of an alley, put his spotlight on down the alley, uh, and saw a man walking towards him, confirmed that that the matched the identity of the, uh, uh, individual who was allegedly threatening people. And uh, within seconds really it really took, uh, less than half a minute for all this to unfold. He ended up drawing his weapon, stepping out of his car, drawing his weapon and shooting, uh, the individual who was for do Nahad the single shot to the chest and killing him Speaker 1: 01:56 after the shooting. The police department and former district attorney Bonnie demand is found. The shooting was justified, but then the family filed a civil rights lawsuit. So on what grounds did the Ninth Circuit Federal Appeals Court say the lawsuit could in fact move forward? What would have happened? Ben Speaker 2: 02:11 was at the end of, uh, 2017. The trial judge, the District Court judge here, William Hayes, dismissed the lawsuit at the city's request. And he found that the evidence that had been presented to him showed that the shooting was reasonable and that the officer had a qualified immunity under the law and that there was no path forward to the suit. The appeals court issued a decision issued yesterday. Really, I'm reversed almost all of that finding. What's important to remember here is that this lawsuit is at this stage in, in these cases called summary Judgment, uh, which is sort of a pretrial, um, uh, motion, uh, to, to end the suit. And when that happens, judges are supposed to look at the evidence in the case in the ruling yesterday, the, the appeals court basically said, look, we look at this evidence, we at the record of this thing, there are a lot of factual disputes here that can't be dismissed by a judge before trial, but really ought to go to a jury to decide what happened, what the facts were and who's, uh, who's at fault if anyone. Speaker 2: 03:16 And can you talk about a couple of the factual disputes I mentioned there, there are a couple. A one was the, the court a, the appeals court said that there are some questions here about what they, uh, termed a Neil Browder's that the officer's credibility. And particularly they talked about in the s in the hours right after the shooting, he told a police investigators on the scene that he didn't see any weapons when he was interviewed by police investigators. And that was five days later. Uh, and after he had consulted with his attorney and both he and his attorney had been able to see a video tape that had captured, uh, the, the shooting incident. He then said, well, uh, that Mr [inaudible] did have a knife. He was, uh, coming towards him. He didn't obey commands. Uh, and that he was, uh, as a, the officer said he was aggressing him. Speaker 2: 04:06 The courts had looked at, these are contradictory, uh, statements, you know, somebody has to figure out which one is accurate. That's one. There was another one about, uh, whether the, he had properly identified himself as a police officer. Another about, uh, if he had had, you know, as a at acted properly, if he had, uh, considered kind of less lethal taser or, or other kinds of, uh, weapons to stop an Ohad. Overall I think the court said, look, you can't say based on this evidence and looking at it in a, in a light that's most favorable to Nahamah and his family, you can't say that the, that this was an objective, really reasonable shooting. There are just too many questions, too many unknowns. So the judge also reinstated a broader claim and the suit. That's right. And to me that, that was a really interesting part of both as lawsuit and the decision yesterday, it's called up manel claim, but it's basically, um, a claim that broadens the lawsuit beyond just sort of the actions of the individual officer and, and the investigation of the incident to kind of make an argument that says, look, this shooting is the product in some ways of a accustom or a practice, a culture, if you will, within this agency that allows this stuff to happen. Speaker 2: 05:26 In other words, he kind of calls into question or or allows the plaintiffs to explore this larger issue of how San Diego police investigate officer involved shootings, how officers are disciplined if they are at all. That does two things. I think in the lawsuit, one it kind of exposes the city to a larger potential, you know, monetary judgment because if you're warning money based on a on an entire agency's failure, that's larger than at an individual. But two, it really kind of opens up sort of this what could be a very interesting exploration about this very issue which is you know, has been in the news a lot about how the police police themselves. This kind of claim is, is a very interesting one. A and could prove to be interesting if the case ever goes to trial as the city said how it plans to proceed. Speaker 2: 06:18 They have not, um, you know, the decision just came out yesterday at 10:00 AM it's 30 some pages. I'm sure they're going to go over it. They have some options. They can ask a larger panel of the ninth circuit to review this particular ruling that sometimes can be a long shot, but um, it can work. Uh, they could, I guess theoretically they could petition the Supreme Court, the US Supreme Court to, to review this, but a, that's less likely or they can just say, fine and come back, uh, here to federal court in San Diego and start the case again or restart the case and probably get, you know, get a court date. And in pretty short order, Speaker 1: 06:53 I've been speaking with Greg Moran, a reporter with the San Diego Union Tribune. Greg, thank you so much. You're welcome. Speaker 3: 07:02 [inaudible] Speaker 1: 07:05 San Diego is pride weekend kicks off tonight at six with a spirit of stonewall rally at the pride flag and Hillcrest. This is the 50th anniversary of the riots at New York City's stonewall in an event that supercharged what was then a nascent gay rights movement. KPBS reporter John Carroll talk to a San Diego son who was there with an hours of what would turn into three days of writing. Speaker 4: 07:29 The riots at the stonewall in, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood started late on a Friday evening, June 28th, 1969 within a couple of hours, Joe [inaudible] phone was ringing Speaker 5: 07:40 early, early in the morning, like I'm talking to like 4:00 AM from a friend telling us that there was a riot down in Greenwich village on Christopher Street and that we should get down there. And so we did. Speaker 4: 07:55 Once Narva got on the scene, the evidence of what had gone down a short time before was obvious. Speaker 5: 08:01 Oh, I remember seeing his fire because the police, the police cars, one of the police cars, right smack press street was set on fire was burning. So that was already a sign of, of seriousness for us. Speaker 4: 08:14 Raids on gay bars, though they weren't called gay bars back then were common. I asked Navid why the stonewall patrons reached the end of their rope that night. [inaudible] says it was primarily the drag queens who'd had enough Speaker 5: 08:27 that particular night. The police were extremely, uh, physically brutal to them because one of them talked back and the other one yelled and said, then they started hitting them then too. That's when it turned into a real riot. Speaker 4: 08:39 The riots continued for the next three days when things settle down. Narvin says community organizing picked up. Speaker 5: 08:46 We found out about meetings who are being called sweet, sort of started formation of doing something about what's going on. Speaker 4: 08:53 Life for gay men back then was difficult to say the least. Speaker 5: 08:57 We were criminals. We were evil. We were defined as crimes. We can be arrested at anything, any given point. Speaker 4: 09:03 Things were even worse for drag Queens. Narvin says that's why they took the lead on that fateful night. Speaker 5: 09:09 It took the drag queens to do it because why not? They had nothing to lose. They weren't gonna get any better treatment, worse treatment. They were over getting the worst treatment they could get. So why not? Why not stand up for yourself and leave? Yet. Speaker 4: 09:22 In 1975 Joe Narva had picked up and moved west to San Francisco where within a few years he would find himself in the middle of another watershed moment for the gay movement while studying for his doctorate. Narvin worked as an intern for Harvey milk, Speaker 5: 09:38 and so we set up a committee of which I was one of the eight or 10 people who were on the committee too, to form a program that would service submit the gay and lesbian and Trans community with mental health services. Speaker 4: 09:55 Narvaez primary memory of milk stems from a meeting where he and a colleague suggested opening a group home for runaway LGBT youth milks, sharp political instincts swung into action. He shot down the idea, Speaker 5: 10:08 so shut us down in a minute. They'll say, we were recruiting young people to be homosexuals. He was right, and that's where he, that's where high became his big way brighter than a lot of us at that time. Speaker 4: 10:18 All these years later. It's still tough for Narva to talk about the tragedy that unfolded on November 27th, 1978 the day Harvey milk in San Francisco, Mayor George Moscone were gun too down in city hall. Speaker 5: 10:33 Market street was mud all the way down to city hall with candles burning and Joan Baez was there with her at Sydney. Speaker 4: 10:40 Now 77 years old, Joe Narvin is still working. He's a clinician at San Diego's naval medical center. As much progress as the Movement for equal rights has made, Narva is concerned specifically for transgender members of the military. Speaker 5: 10:56 What just happened to the dread transgender sailors and Marines and soldiers should that have happened and could not have happened, I believe five years ago Speaker 4: 11:07 on the eve of San Diego's pride parade Narva advice for younger members of the LGBTQ community. Speaker 5: 11:14 I don't want to say be scared. I would say be cautious Speaker 4: 11:17 advice for today from someone who was there back then. John Carroll KPBS news. Speaker 6: 11:27 Uh Huh. Speaker 1: 11:33 There's a lot going on this weekend, particularly if you're a fan of Broadway. Ms Saigon brings its epic tale to town plus seniors. Cynthia Erivo and Hugh Jackman performed solo concerts. We'll also talk about the raining teen queen of pop and give you details about pride weekend KPBS arts editor, Nina Garren is here with all the details. Welcome. Hello. Speaker 7: 11:54 We have a lot going on this weekend, so let's start with Miss Saigon. Tell us about this show. This is a show based on the opera Madame Butterfly, but the story now moves to 1970 Saigon during the Vietnam War. It's a romance between Kim and Chris. Kim is a Vietnamese bar girl and Chris's a marine and Chris leaves to go back to the u s and Kim has this child and waits for him to come back. I think what everyone remembers about Miss Saigon is that there's a helicopter on stage, right? Yeah. It's a very emotional, riveting scene. It's when the Americans had to immediately leave because the Vietcong was approaching, and so this helicopter comes on and it's quite a show stopper, so if you're planning to go, how much did you know about the Vietnam war? I'm going to be honest. I went and I didn't do any research and I was a little confused. Speaker 7: 12:47 So I'm going to say, if you go, I would just do a simple search about what happened after the war and also what happened to the children who were left behind by the soldiers. And you'll enjoy the show a lot more. Ms Saigon plays through Sunday at the San Diego Civic Theater. And speaking of Broadway, we have two Tony winning performers in town this weekend. Let's start with Cynthia or REIVault. Remind us who she is. She's a British singer, an actor, and she's best known for starring as Cle in the 2015 revival of the color purple. And she won a Tony for that in 2016. Speaker 3: 13:36 [inaudible] [inaudible]. Speaker 7: 13:53 He's got an incredibly powerful voice. He really does. Um, she'll be performing a concert called legendary women's voices. What can we expect? She'll be performing songs by people like Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Edith Piaf, and she'll be accompanied by the San Diego Symphony. So it's just gonna be a great night of music by powerful women. Cynthia Erivo performed with the San Diego symphony tonight at Bayside summer nights and later in the week we also have Hugh Jackman, you're telling us wolverine is going to show a, is going to sing some showtunes. So Wolverine loves Broadway. If you know anything about him. He is a show man. His next project is actually on Broadway in the music man and so he's on a worldwide tour right now called the man, the music, the show Speaker 3: 14:51 [inaudible] we crown on the surface [inaudible] Speaker 7: 15:10 who knew such talent. So what can people expect at this show? So he's going to perform a lot of songs from this movie, the greatest show man. He's also going to sing songs from Les Mis and the show called boy from Oz. There's going to be glitzy dance numbers that are going to be costume changes and a big live orchestra. See that's what I miss the days of being a triple threat. Yeah. Everybody strived to be a triple threat. Yeah. And put on just a good show. Exactly. Alright Hugh. Jack when performs Tuesday at Pachanga Arena San Diego. This is also pride weekend and there will be a lot going on throughout Hillcrest. Can you give us some highlights? Friday night is the block party which is free and it's after the spirit of stonewall rally and there's going to be food dancing, light shows, all that. And then Saturday at 10 is the parade that goes down university and sixth avenue and that leads to the pride festival happening at Balboa Park that has music booth, fashion, food, everything and the pride festival happens over two days and has some pretty popular performers. Speaker 7: 16:15 Yes, Sunday's headliner is Melissa Etheridge and Saturday features rapper and activist Mickey Blanco and also stars from Rupaul's drag race. It's going to be a really fun day, right? Pride happens this weekend at Balboa Park and venues throughout Hillcrest and we can't go without mentioning that Billie Eilish is in town, which you say is the hardest ticket to get this summer. Uh, who is she? Um, she is a 17 year old artist and she is basically redefining the idea of a pop star. Her music is very catchy, but she has an edge. She's like kind of dangerous. And she's also rare because young teens love her, but also really snobby music critics. So why do you think she's resonating with so many people right now? She's just really not afraid to be who she is. Her style is so out there. She wears really, really baggy clothes, kinda like sweats that are colorful. Um, she always has like her makeup running or blood on her nose and these are actually conscious choices against objectifying her body. All right, let's listen to Billie Eilish. This is bad guy. Speaker 8: 17:25 So you tough like, it really just came, just always so bad. I'm not bad side. Make him drama. Sad side. Thank you. Cool friend Matt. I said, Holy Shit. That guy. Um, Speaker 7: 17:43 Duh. All right. That is very pop. Pop with an edge. It is. All right. You can find more arts events at I've been speaking with KPBS arts editor, Nina Garren. Nina, thanks. Thanks. Have a great weekend.

A lawsuit filed against the City of San Diego, by the family of a man killed by police in 2015, was found to have merit by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Also, a San Diego man recalls his experience during the Stonewall riots. And this weekend: Broadway stars, a pop princess and Pride.