San Francisco police fatally shot a man suspected of stabbing a man in the Bayview District late on Wednesday afternoon, and video of the moments leading up to the shooting is stirring controversy on social media. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that around 4:20 p.m. police responded to a report that a man had been stabbed in the shoulder by an attacker who was still in the area. According to Police Chief Greg Suhr, five officers spotted the suspect, who was holding a long kitchen knife, on a nearby street and ordered him to drop the weapon. Then they shot him with beanbag pellets, and he fell but got up again.
The bystander video shot from inside a bus shows the officers surrounding the suspect with guns drawn. A woman screams “just drop it!” and the suspect slowly starts walking away. One of the officers steps into his path, and the camera turns away as at least 15 shots ring out.
Officers reportedly called paramedics and attempted to revive the man, but he died at the scene.
Suhr said the video shows that the suspect had a knife in his hand, and was moving toward officers. He said the man “had already demonstrated, by committing a felony aggravated assault, that he was a danger to others, so he could not be allowed to move away from the scene.”
However, San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi said the video shows the suspect was not threatening officers, so they shouldn’t have opened fire. “It does not look like the officer who fired the fatal shots was in immediate danger of being killed,” Adachi said, adding that the officer “can move back and at least order the person to the ground or use some other sort of defensive maneuver, rather than using a gun and shooting him point-blank.”