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Use of force in question: Bodycam footage shows Sacramento deputies open fire on fleeing car

Use-of-force questions arise after officer-invovled shooting injured woman in Rancho Cordova
Use-of-force questions arise after officer-invovled shooting injured woman in Rancho Cordova 03:32

SACRAMENTO -- Police use of force is now called into question following a Rancho Cordova officer-involved shooting that injured a 24-year-old woman fleeing from deputies in November. CBS13 first reported on Sunday that the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) released the bodycam video detailing the incident.

The shooting happened around 11 a.m. on Nov. 20, 2023, along Malaga Way in a Rancho Cordova neighborhood. 

SCSO, which provides the deputies who staff the Rancho Cordova Police Department, legally has to release bodycam video within 45 days of an officer-involved shooting. A spokesperson said the department could not agree to an interview about the incident at this time, but noted that the investigation into whether or not protocol was properly followed is still ongoing.

"Please understand we do not draw any conclusions about whether our deputy acted consistent with our policies and the law until all the facts are known and the investigation is complete," said department spokesperson Sgt. Amar Ghandi in the video release of the bodycam footage on Dec. 31. 

Ghandi says standard practice is for the incident to now be investigated by the Homicide Bureau and the Professional Standards Division. 

The bodycam footage that relates directly to the moments leading up to the shooting show the suspect, Kyrieanna Liles, refusing to comply with an officer's repeated commands to get out of her vehicle that was parked in a driveway on Malaga Way.

"I'm sorry. I'm not dealing with this right now. I'm going through a lot," Liles can be heard telling the officer, then slamming her driver side door shut. 

"Ma'am, come out here for a minute," the officer says. 

"No, leave me alone," Liles can be heard saying in the back-and-forth exchange. 

The simple requests from the officer continue. 

"Step out here for a minute," the officer can be heard saying.

"Come on. No. I didn't do anything wrong," Liles says back. 

"Step out of the car, keep your hands in sight," says the officer. 

At this point, the officer then tries to physically remove Liles from the car's open driver-side door when she puts the car in reverse and backs down the driveway. 

The vehicle is now considered a deadly weapon with officers in its direct path.

Ten shots are fired at her, seven by one deputy and three by another deputy, as Liles dodges the officers and flees down Malaga Way. No officers were hurt. 

"In my opinion, I don't believe that the continued shooting at the vehicle was justified," said Sacramento attorney Justin Ward. 

For perspective on protocol, CBS13 asked Ward to watch the video in its entirety.

Ward raised questions about deputies still firing shots in the middle of a neighborhood when Liles was clearly driving away from them. 

"Why did you keep shooting? She is no longer a threat to you with her vehicle," said Ward, saying the officers could have opted to pursue her instead of continuing to fire when she was heading down Malaga Way. 

Before any shots were fired, bodycam video and dispatch calls detail what lead up to these tense moments. 

Liles actually called 911 herself first, saying she was trying to find her missing dog in her neighborhood, believing the dog to be in a neighbors fenced-in backyard. 

Then, a neighbor calls police when the woman allegedly came to their door and is captured on home surveillance video with what appears to be a knife in hand. She is accused of trying to break into the yard to find her dog. 

"She said, 'You guys stole my dog' and pulled a knife out on us," the neighbors can be heard telling police in bodycam video. 

The neighbors tell police the only dogs in their yard are their own family pets. 

Deputies say two knives were found later in Liles' home, but there is no indication in bodycam video she threatened officers with a knife. 

"They didn't see a knife. There's been no evidence they saw a knife when they came to the car," said Ward. 

Ward agrees that despite her intention, it is clear deputies were in harms way as she tried to drive away.

His biggest question: could more have been done to de-escalate?

"Anybody with reason could tell she's having some type of mental health issue," said Ward. "What was their opinion as to her mental health? And what training have they received to deal with people having mental health episodes?"

Liles was arrested after a short pursuit on Folsom Bouoevard, about 20 minutes after the incident first began. 

She was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the arm, then booked at the Sacramento County jail. Her bail is set at $500,000 and she remains behind bars.

Ward says that in this case, he would not call for the officers to be fired but to receive more training. 

"The neighbors were put at more risk, in my opinion, than the officers were in this situation," said Ward. 

Liles is facing a felony charge of assault with great bodily injury of a peace officer. She is due back in court Jan. 8. 

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