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Videos Show Sacramento Police Fatally Shoot Darell Richards, But Key Details Still Unclear

Still from Sacramento Police Department video

This still from body camera footage released by the Sacramento Police Department shows the area where Darrel Richards was shot by officers.

Still from Sacramento Police Department video

Updated 6:28 p.m.

The Sacramento Police Department has released video of the officers who fatally shot Darell Richards, a black-Hmong 19-year-old, in the backyard of a Curtis Park home on the morning of September 6.

The footage culminates when a police dog locates Richards hiding underneath a staircase. Two SWAT officers approach him, then shout "Show me your hands!" and "Put the gun down!" before firing several shots.

Police say Richards pointed a gun at the officers in the seconds before the fatal shooting. The video footage released on Friday does not capture this moment, and one of the officers body cameras was not turned on during the moment they opened fire. Officers found a black pellet gun, which looks like a handgun, at the scene.

“During the shooting, we do not have footage from one of the second officers,” Sgt. Vance Chandler said, adding that the department is investigating why equipment may have “inadvertently” hit a button and turned off the camera.

Law enforcement had arrived in the area several hours earlier, just after 11:30 p.m. on September 5, after receiving a call about a man brandishing a gun near Broadway and Land Park Drive.

A 911 call released on Friday describes the suspect, allegedly Richards: “There’s a man with a gun — I don’t know if it’s a real gun, a play gun — and he’s got a mask on his face.”

Video posted on the police department’s YouTube channel Friday shows an officer encounter Richards near Broadway and 20th Street. The officer attempts to detain him, but California Highway Patrol airplane footage shows Richards fleeing into the nearby Curtis Park neighborhood and eventually hop a fence into a home’s backyard.

Unlike the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark this past March, officers did not pursue him. Instead, police say they formed a perimeter around the area, and a SWAT team began searching for Richards around 1:30 a.m.

The officers fire at Richards at 3:12 a.m. Seven minutes after the shooting, officers finally approached him, recovering the pellet gun and a small blade. Five minutes later, they began administering CPR.

Friday’s release of police records includes 10 body-worn camera videos, two surveillance videos, three CHP aircraft videos and three audio files, including the original 911 call. The airplane video does not include the moment of the shooting, although Chandler says that his department has made public all footage it received from CHP.

Police also released a 13-minute video featuring Sgt. Vance Chandler, who describes the incident and shooting from the department’s point-of-view.

Tanya Faison, founder of the local Black Lives Matter chapter, says that none of the records confirm that Richards pointed a gun at officers.

“The video shows us absolutely no proof,” Faison said. “All the narrative that the police sent out — that he pointed a gun at officers, so therefore they had to kill him — none of that visible in any of the video, so we still don’t know what happened.”

On Tuesday, Mayor Darrell Steinberg called the shooting a tragedy. “But each of these incidents need to seen on their own facts,” he said, adding that it appeared that Richards “was waving some sort of a gun.”

Police say the two officers who shot the man have 17 and 11 years of experience with the department. They were placed on administrative leave last week.

Emily Zentner

Interactive Producer

Emily Zentner is an Interactive Producer at Capital Public Radio. Prior to joining CapRadio in May 2018, she worked as a video producer at The Sacramento Bee. She studied journalism at Arizona State University.  Read Full Bio 

Chris Hagan

Senior Editor, Digital Content

Chris Hagan is the Senior Editor, Digital Content for Capital Public Radio.   Read Full Bio 

Nick Miller

Senior Editor, News & Features

Nick Miller is an award-winning editor with more than 15 years of newsroom experience. Previously he was editor-in-chief of the East Bay Express in Oakland, and worked as an editor for 12 years at the Sacramento News & Review.  Read Full Bio 

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