Updated 4:57 p.m.
After demands by activists and family members, law enforcement released video and audio on Friday that shows a police vehicle colliding with a teenager at 27 miles-per-hour during a north Sacramento pursuit last month.
Footage of the July 22 incident culminates with sounds of a crash. “Oh, shit!” an officer driving a vehicle yells before exiting the car and placing the young man in handcuffs.
Police body-camera video shows the teenager scream out loud: “Please help me up! The guy hit me while he was driving. I just flew.”
Warning: This video contains graphic language and content
The 16-year-old — whose name CapRadio is not revealing because he is a minor — was pulled over earlier in the evening for riding a bike without any lights. Police say he fled when asked about arrest warrants.
The Sacramento Police Department released footage, audio and 911 calls from the July 22 incident after a CapRadio Public Records Act request and calls for transparency by the local Black Lives Matter chapter and family.
John Burris, an attorney representing the teen, viewed the footage and said the officer driving the vehicle was negligent, but that the collision didn’t appear intentional.
“The best I can say is that he did not deliberately hit him with the car,” Burris said. “I’ve had cases where that has taken place, but it did not appear that it was being used as weapon.”
But Patrick Buelna, an attorney also representing the family with Burris’ law firm, called the collision “an awful use of force” and “distressing.”
“This isn’t an armed robbery. This is a kid without a headlight on his bicycle,” Buelna said. “It’s just awful, and the pattern here from the Sacramento Police is that they’ve been using their cars as essentially weapons to detain or arrest citizens,” a reference to the officers who attempted to hit Joseph Mann with their vehicle before fatally shooting him in 2016.
Buelna filed a claim against the department on July 31, and said he will be filing a lawsuit for violating the teen’s civil rights, as well as for negligence and assault and battery.
In a statement, department Chief Daniel Hahn wrote that he was “grateful” the young man was not gravely injured.
“Clearly, this collision could have been tragic,” Hahn wrote in a statement released with the video. “I am grateful the young man was not more seriously injured and that no one else was injured. Our training is designed to prevent this sort of thing from happening.”
The teenager survived the hit, but family says he suffered a concussion, received lacerations, and had a fractured leg.
The department says the officer who hit the teenager had lost control of the vehicle and is investigating the case. The name of the officer has not been released by the department.
Family members and activists with the local Black Lives Matter chapter want the officer’s name made public and are calling for his termination.
"We just want some accountability. We want some justice for this family,” said Patrick Buelna, an attorney representing the family, at a press conference last month. “We want to confirm everything that our client says happened, happened.”
Attorney Buelna said the family was at loss for words when they watched the video, and that the teen’s mother did not go to the police department “because they’re still afraid of the police.”
“The mother specifically didn’t want to watch her son be hit by a police car,” Buelna said.
This story is developing and will be updated.
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