Activist calls for ‘moral transparency’ from police department after all officer shootings

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SAN DIEGO — Shane Harris of the People’s Alliance for Justice  praised the San Diego Police Department for quickly releasing video of the police shooting of Leonardo Ibarra in downtown San Diego on Saturday, and he called on the department to do the same after all future police shootings.

“I am extremely proud of the city of San Diego and of the San Diego Police Department for releasing the video with in 48 hours of the call,” said Harris.

Ibarra, 25, was shot at 5:45 p.m. Saturday in the 1200 block of Sixth Avenue, when two officers noticed him leaving a building on the west side of the street and thought he resembled a man sought in connection with a June 21 robbery, according to SDPD Lt. Matt Dobbs.

Officers thought they recognized Ibarra from a wanted poster because of the distinctive tattoos on his face, Dobbs said.

The officers tried to engage Ibarra, but he took out a gun from his waistband and pointed it at one of them, Dobbs said. Both officers fired multiple shots and Ibarra fell to the ground wounded. The officer handcuffed Ibarra and immediately began giving him first aid until paramedics arrived. He was taken to a hospital and remained in intensive care with life-threatening injuries on Monday, authorities said.

Harris held a news conference Monday to discuss the shooting. He said he and other community activists had on Sunday called for the police to release body camera video from the two officers involved in the shooting. He praised the department for acting so quickly, and said that the video did a great deal to clarify the circumstances of the shooting.

“We all saw the video, and we can all interpret it. It appears Mr. Ibarra was grabbing for a weapon in his waist,” Harris said. “We need to be honest when we see what we see, but we also need to be balanced in our approach when it comes to critical change and reform in what 21st Century policing looks like.”

Harris said he will ask the police department and the district attorney to adopt a three-point moral transparency proposal to build on the way they handled the shooting of Ibarra:

  • Release officer body camera video of future police shootings within 72 hours of the incident.
  • Improve racial bias training for all current officers and new police recruits.
  • The district attorney should establish a new unit to investigate allegations of police misconduct and use of excessive force.

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