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San Leandro Police Release Video Of Fatal Officer Shooting Of Man Wielding Baseball Bat

SAN LEANDRO (CBS SF) -- Video from officers' body-worn cameras and a citizen's cellphone video released by San Leandro police on Wednesday shows an officer Tasering, and then fatally shooting a man wielding an aluminum baseball bat inside a Walmart store.

A preliminary autopsy by the Alameda County coroner determined that 33-year-old Steven Demarco Taylor died of a single gunshot wound to the chest. Taylor was shot by police just inside the entrance to the Walmart store at 15555 Hesperian Blvd. on Saturday.

Police said the unidentified officer shot Taylor because he didn't comply with their orders to put the baseball bat down and he kept coming toward them even after they fired a Taser stun gun at him.

"We know this incident has garnered much attention in our community, and that's why we're releasing this video now, before the investigation is complete so that we can provide as much information as possible to our community as the process continues," said San Leandro Police Chief Jeff Tudor said in the video posted on the department's YouTube page.

The video shows officers confronting Taylor and ordering him to put down the bat. One officer deploys his Taser while continuing to order Taylor to put down the bat.  Taylor does not comply and after a second pulse on the Taser, he continues to move toward the officer, who then fires one round from his service weapon.

After being shot, Taylor then moves away and drops the bat just as another officer deploys his Taser on Taylor, who then falls forward to the ground.

The names of the officers involved were blurred on their uniforms. A graphic appears on the video saying, "In the following video, the names of the officers have been redacted. This step was taken due to threats of violence against our officers. The names will ultimately be released in another forum."

San Leandro Police Dept. video of fatal officer-involved shooting  - WARNING: VIDEO IS DISTURBING

SLPD Community Briefing Video - Officer Involved Shooting 04/18/20 by San Leandro Police Department on YouTube

"Anytime we have an officer-involved shooting, it is a matter we take very seriously and a number of steps and investigations automatically begin," said Tudor. "This was a traumatic experience for all involved including the numerous witnesses at the store that afternoon. Our thoughts are with the families affected by this tragic incident."

Tudor said his department would conduct a complete review of the incident, and separately the Alameda County District Attorney's Office was launching an independent investigation of the shooting.

Attorney S. Lee Merritt said in a Twitter message that he has been retained by Taylor's family and he believes San Leandro officers engaged in "excessive and unlawful use of force."

Merritt alleged that the officers didn't need to shoot Taylor. "At some point in this exchange the officers' behavior became criminal, namely when the suspect (Taylor) was disarmed."

Merritt wrote, "These officers are not only poorly trained to deal with individuals suffering from a mental health crisis, their intentional and repeated application of force, despite the absence of a threat, captured in these recordings (videos of the incident) is sufficient evidence for authorities to issue an arrest warrant for the shooting officers."

Merritt alleged, "Failure to identify and arrest the shooter unnecessarily exposes the public to a deadly threat."

San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter said in a statement, "Like so many of you, my heart aches for the loss of life in our community this weekend. The outcome of this incident was tragic. I offer heartfelt condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of Mr. Steven Taylor."

Cutter said, "The city of San Leandro is committing to investigating this incident thoroughly and transparently. We will share more information with the public as soon as we are able to do so."

Cutter said separate investigations are being conducted by the San Leandro Police Department and the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.

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