Video shows unarmed man fatally shot by California police in portable toilet

A Southern California police officer searching for a burglary suspect on a February night opened the door of a portable toilet and found him. Seconds later, the unarmed man was dead. Fontana police on Thursday released body-worn camera footage, narrated by Chief Billy Green, from the fatal encounter. Green said the man, Daverion Deauntre Kinard, was holding a “metallic object” in his hand as he sat on the portable toilet. It turned out to be a lighter.

Kinard was killed Feb. 13, the day before his 29th birthday. The city of Fontana has agreed to pay his parents $1 million in a legal settlement, according to The Press-Enterprise. The law firm that represented the family in the legal claim did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The family recognizes the public and the media’s interest in obtaining and viewing the footage but would appreciate the family’s desire that the footage remain private in order to protect the dignity of Daverion,” the family and the city wrote in a joint statement in the video.

State law requires law enforcement agencies to make public footage of police shootings within 45 days. Fontana delayed the release, citing the ongoing investigation and other factors, The Press-Enterprise reported. Green did not immediately respond to The Associated Press’ request for comment Friday.

Officer Johnny Tuitavake, who was identified in the settlement, was sworn into the department in February 2019, according to city council documentsThe Press-Enterprise reported that he remains on duty.

The shooting remains under investigation by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office to see if any criminal charges will be filed. The Fontana police are conducting an internal review to determine if departmental policy was followed.

Fontana is 55 miles east of Los Angeles.

In the video — which includes a 911 call about a residential burglary in progress — footage from a doorbell camera shows a man walking around the home and removing a screen from a window and taking it out of view. The man, who police say was Kinard, went into the home through the window. Police arrived and found the screen removed and saw Kinard inside. He ran out the back door as police officers followed on foot and by car and searched the area.

About 1,000 feet from the home, Tuitavake found a portable toilet and opened the door, shining his flashlight.

“Due to limited lighting in this case, the footage does not clearly show what the officer saw,” Green, the police chief, said.

The video shows Kinard, fully clothed, sitting on the toilet with his arms folded in his lap. He appears to wave to the officer with his left hand. His palm is open and nothing is in his hand.

Then, Kinard “rolled” a metallic object in his right hand toward the officer, Green said. Tuitavake closed the portable toilet’s door and took out his gun. The police department shows this with screenshots of the footage because it occurs too quickly to see in real-time video.

Tuitavake then reopened the door and fired a single shot, killing Kinard.

Green said the entire encounter, from when Tuitavake first opened the door to opening fire, was 2.5 seconds.

“The object in his hand was a lighter,” the chief said.

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