West Sacramento releases bodycam video of former enforcement officer killed by police

Local News

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The West Sacramento Police Department released body camera footage Monday from the police shooting death of a longtime community member, former enforcement officer and volunteer for the police.

Robert Coleman was shot near West Capitol Avenue the early morning of Sept. 12 after calls about a man armed with a gun in the neighborhood.

Prior to the release of Monday’s body camera footage, police said the 88-year-old Black man was seen sitting in a vehicle behind police units. As an officer tried to contact him, West Sacramento police say he left the vehicle armed with a handgun.

The released body cam video shows footage from three different officers. Viewer discretion is advised as the videos include graphic images.

Body-Worn Camera: Officer #1

In the footage, the first officer to approach Coleman is identified as “BODY-WORN CAMERA: OFFICER #1.”

Officer #1’s footage shows him walking toward Coleman’s car, which had its headlights on.

Coleman can be seen in the video exiting his car and standing outside with the driver’s door open when the officer says, “Hey, how is it going, sir? Can I help you?” The officer points his flashlight at Coleman’s upper body while still walking toward him.

The footage shows the officer responding to a firearm in Coleman’s hand and yells, “Oh s—!” He runs from Coleman while firing his pistol three times and yelling “shots fired! Shots fired!”

Officer #1’s camera shows at the 1:49 mark that Coleman is still standing against his car door when the officer yells, “Put down the gun! Put it down! Put down the gun!” He then fires multiple additional shots, saying again, “Shots fired.”

Officer #1 then commands Coleman to drop the gun and show his hands while another officer can be heard saying off-screen, “Still moving.”

Officer #1 then repeats his command. “Drop the gun! Show me your hands! Show me your hands!” Another officer can be heard yelling “drop it” off-screen.

Officer #1 then repeats his command a third time before firing multiple additional shots.

Another different officer can be heard off-screen commanding Coleman to “put it down! Put the gun down now!”

A third officer announces off-screen that Coleman is “still moving.” Officer #1 can be heard repeating the phrase louder, “Still moving!”

Another officer can be heard saying, “He’s pulling the hammer on it,” before a shot can be heard that Officer #1 reacts to with a grunt as he ducks down for cover.

Another officer asks Officer #1, “Are you all right?”

Officer #1 says “yeah” before breathing heavy and backs away behind full cover of the vehicle. The remaining footage of Officer #1 is pointed at the ground behind the patrol vehicle while other officers command Coleman to drop his weapon before firing additional shots.

Officer’s #1 footage ends shortly after one of the officers announces that “he’s down.”

The footage then is cut and showed in slow-motion and magnified to highlight with a red circle graphic that Coleman was armed when Officer #1 first fired his shots and shortly after when other officers responded.

Body-Worn Camera: Officer #2

The next footage perspective is identified as “BODY-WORN CAMERA: OFFICER #2” and begins immediately after Officer #1 fired his shots at Coleman.

The footage shows Officer #2 taking cover on the other side of the patrol vehicle opposite of Officer #1 with his gun pointed and yelling, “Hey, get it down now! Drop it now!” He then fires multiple shots along with Officer #1.

Officer #2 can then be heard on his radio saying, “Sam, we got shots fired. Subject rolled up on us with gun. Copy a plate.”

Dispatch can be heard responding on the radio, “Go ahead with the plate.”

Off-screen, Officer #1 can be heard shouting “drop the gun” before the sound was bleeped out with a superimposed message on the screen that said, “License Plate Number Redacted.”

Officer #2 can be heard yelling, “Hey, get your hands up now! Drop it!” then telling his fellow officers, “He still got the gun, he’s manipulating it.” Then other shots can be heard being fired off-screen.

Officer #2 then commands Coleman to “put it down! Put the gun down now!” Officer #1 can be heard shouting off-screen, “Still moving!”

Another officer can be heard off-screen saying, “He’s pulling the hammer on it.” Officer #2 fires his gun again.

Then Officer #2 tells the other officers, “Make sure you got cover. Get cover.”

Officer #2 can be heard commanding Coleman to drop the gun at least three more times while other officers fire guns off-screen.

Officer #2 is heard advising other officers to get a “long gun” before he is told that Coleman is down just before the video ends.

Body-Worn Camera: Officer #3

The third perspective provided was identified as “BODY-WORN CAMERA: OFFICER #3”

Officer #3 can be seen immediately taking cover behind a vehicle furthest from Coleman’s location.

Multiple officers get into position with guns drawn, yet Officer #3 is not shown to be engaging with Coleman directly.

The video was shared to show a wider perspective of the incident, according to the notes leading up to the video.

From this perspective, the officer who said “he’s pulling the hammer on it” can be seen next to the position where Officer #3 was taking cover.

The video ends with still photos of the revolver Coleman was carrying during the incident.

The following is a statement from Interim Police Chief Rob Strange released with the footage: 

The West Sacramento Police Department appreciates the community’s patience and compassion for everyone impacted by this incident. Our administration continues to cooperate with the Davis Police Department as they conduct the independent criminal investigation and as we complete our own internal investigation of the incident and review of department policies. Several months from now the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office will complete its assessment of this officer-involved shooting and issue its findings. 

Almost ten days have passed since the events depicted in the linked video. The work compiled through the criminal and administrative investigations has begun to shed light on what occurred in those early morning hours. I have assessed the information gathered through these investigative efforts and have determined that the involved officers will be authorized to return to duty. These officers continue to cooperate with all investigative efforts and other work readiness processes, while they also engage with supportive resources to enable a healthy return to their work serving the residents of West Sacramento. 

West Sacramento Interim Police Chief Rob Strange

The following is a statement from Mayor Christopher Cabaldon released with the footage: 

This is the first fatal officer-involved shooting in nearly 20 years in the City of West Sacramento, and our first priority has been to assure the integrity of review, investigation, due process, and civilian oversight. Today’s release of body cam footage of the critical incident is one step by which the City of West Sacramento holds itself accountable.

After reviewing the footage, I felt even more deeply the profound tragedy of Mr. Coleman’s battle with mental illness, as well as the trauma endured both by his family and by police officers on the scene.

We await the independent investigation by the Davis Police Department and District Attorney, which typically concludes several months after an incident. At the same time, multiple internal reviews are underway, both within the West Sacramento Police Department and in the City’s executive office. Pursuant to our policy and standard practice, the Chief is returning the officers from administrative leave after the first review and following an assessment of their readiness.

West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

If you or someone you know needs help or is in suicidal crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week toll-free.

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