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Video shows homeless man killed by deputies in San Clemente fighting for gun

A homeless man, Kurt Reinhold, was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy in San Clemente, CA after allegedly trying to get a hold of another deputy’s gun as the pair of officers tried to remove the man from outside a hotel, sparking protests from Black Lives Matter activists in the California city.

“During their contact, a physical altercation occurred,” said Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes. “During the physical altercation, Mr. Reinhold grabbed one of the deputies’ weapons and appeared to have tried to bring it out of the holster. It’s not clear from the video if Mr. Reinhold was able to completely unholster the weapon. That will be part of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office investigation.”

The video shows the deputies struggling with the man when the man reaches down and begins to fumble with the holster. The deputy ends up underneath the man as they continue to struggle on the ground.

A witness told investigators they heard a deputy shout, “He’s got my gun!” at least four times, according to LA’s local CBS News.

The officers were trained as a part of the homeless liaison team and also trained in crisis intervention and de-escalation the sheriff said, according to the LA TV station.  

The Orange County Register (OCR) reports that around 80 people gathered to protest the shooting on Thursday.

“Instead of giving him food and support, they gave him two bullets,” said former City Council candidate Jackson Hinkle, one of the protest organizers. “Instead of letting him walk away, they body-slammed him to the ground and pinned him. I want justice. I want those officers arrested.”

“Demonstrators held up signs, stating: ‘Stop killing [B]lack people’ and ‘Blue lives do not exist. Being a cop is a choice, the color of your skin is not,’” says OCR.

“Just so you know, San Clemente, the revolution has come to your doorstep,” said Pujay Robinson, a former San Clemente resident who is half Black and half white. “This gentleman was failed on so many fronts. He was homeless, and homeless outreach killed him.”

The Orange County Democrats (DPOC) denounced the shooting.

“Yesterday’s tragic murder of Kurt Andres Reinhold at the hands of Sheriff’s Deputies fills me with sadness and outrage. My heart goes out to Kurt Reinhold, his family, and to all Orange County communities impacted by this violence,” said DPOC Chair Ada Briceño in a Thursday statement.

Sheriff Barnes said that he respects people’s First Amendment rights to protests, but draws the line at those who would try to inflame passion, especially to advance an anti-police ideology.

“What we as a community should not tolerate is the commentary or action that serves to divide, create mistrust or cause harm,” Barnes said. “Spreading rumors and misinformation about (the) reason he was contacted by deputies is irresponsible and dangerous.

“It serves to inflame and drive an anti-police narrative, and is not indicative of the factual information regarding this singular incident.”

Police said five people were arrested in the subsequent protests.

PHOTO: The Orange County Register via AP

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