SF Police Videos Show Cops Shot Man With History Of Mental Illness And Charged With Knife


San Francisco Police released a body camera, surveillance footage of the building and 911 calls on Wednesday. document two officers shooting a man who rushed at them with a knife inside a residential hotel in SoMa on Friday.

The man, Ajmal Amani, 41, died of his injuries at San Francisco General Hospital.

Amani suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, had completed diversion and mental health treatment after previous criminal charges and was living in a rented residential hotel room in town, according to his former lawyer, case manager and property manager. He came to the United States on a visa in 2014 after working for more than five years as an Afghan interpreter for US military special forces, said Deputy Public Defender Scott Grant, who represented Amani. His history was first reported by San Francisco standard.

Police identified the officers involved as John Quinlan, who fired four times with a firearm, and Danny De Leon Garcia, who fired three times with a long-range impact weapon, also known as ball gun.

“We recognize that our sworn duty as law enforcement officers imposes on us no more solemn obligation than to honor and respect the sanctity of human life,” the police chief said on Wednesday. Bill Scott at a virtual town hall. “We also know that as police officers we are sometimes required to use force – sometimes including lethal force – in the performance of our duties.”

Scott said the police department was in contact with Amani’s family to offer their condolences. The district attorney’s office, the investigative services division of the police department, the internal affairs of the SFPD, the police accountability department and the forensic pathologist are investigating.

The incident began shortly after 8 a.m. Friday at the Covered Wagon hotel at 917 Folsom St. Amani was living in a rented room in town at the hotel, according to a private property manager who asked to remain anonymous.

As of April 2020, the Adult Probation Service has rented 22 rooms – less than a third of the hotel – for clients involved in the criminal justice system. Nonprofit Recovery Survival Network manages rooms and guests.

CCTV footage of the building, which does not capture audio, shows Amani walking down a hallway with a knife with a 6-inch blade in hand at around 8:04 am He appears to be screaming and gesturing at two building workers, l ‘one holding a broom between him and Amani as the employee steps back into an open door.

At 8:05 a.m., a building worker called 911 and told a dispatcher that a man was in the building with a knife. The caller said he would “not stay on the phone while the man has a knife in my face” before the line was disconnected. During a follow-up call to 911, Amani’s case manager told a dispatcher that Amani “was having a really bad episode” and mentioned that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Officers Quinlan and De Leon Garcia arrived at the hotel at 8:10 a.m. and spoke with the two employees, according to body camera footage. An employee said that Amani “came up to me” and faked her actions by holding a large knife over her head. The person told officers that Amani said, “I’m going to stab you right away, I’m going to kill you” and he was “very violent”.

The two officers entered the hallway and spotted Amani at the other end as he stooped around the corner. They called her name and said they wanted to talk to her, show body camera footage.

“Nobody wants to hurt you,” Quinlan said.

“Don’t talk to me, shut up,” Amani replied. “Leave the f- alone.” “

Officers held their guns holstered and ready, but pointed at the ground. After about a minute, at around 8:14 a.m., Amani came out of his room around the corner, knife in hand, and rushed down the hall to the officers, videos show. Quinlan yelled at him to stay back as they retreated. In less than five seconds, Amani had covered half the distance and the two officers fired their weapons. Amani fell to the ground, his legs moving as he made unintelligible sounds.

“Let me see your hands!” Quinlan yelled. “We want to help you, but we need to hear your voice, okay? “

Other officers have arrived. After more than two minutes, they walked over, obtained the knife, handcuffed Amani, and began providing medical treatment until paramedics arrived.

David Elliott Lewis, tenant advocate and member of the SFPD Crisis Response Team, which trains police in dealing with situations with people with mental illness, told The Chronicle that the incident was “extremely annoying”. Lewis asked Scott during the town hall’s public comment on why the officers appeared to fire lethal and non-lethal weapons at the same time and why it took so long to provide medical aid.

Police explained that in the pairs of officers, one carries a long-range impact weapon and the other carries a gun to provide cover. Scott said he couldn’t judge from the videos whether the police fired at the exact same time. He also said officers are trained to make a plan before approaching a suspect.

Recovery Survival Network director Lou Gordon will stop releasing information on Tuesday. He said the organization has been providing services “for a very long time” and that “nothing like this has ever happened”.

Grant said he was “totally devastated” by the death of Amani, to whom he was “very close”. Grant said Amani “suffered incredible trauma both prior to her service due to the violence and while on duty, including seeing her comrades being killed and shot repeatedly.”

In 2019, the police arrested Amani for allegedly injuring a ranger in the San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks with a cutter. The ranger described Amani as being in a “clearly altered mental state,” Grant said, citing the preliminary hearing.

Amani was arrested on charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and charges related to carjacking, court records show. Grant said a judge immediately dismissed the attempted murder charge.

A judge released Amani to residential treatment in April 2020 and ordered her a mental health diversion in June 2020. Amani remained in treatment until February 2021 and completed the diversion in August – the same week the Taliban took over. control of Kabul. Grant said Amani’s progress was “the most impressive I have ever seen in a client and her trauma was among the worst I have ever seen in a job where I have seen a lot.”

Mental health diversion requires a treatment plan when a person graduates. The Department of Public Health was unable to comment on any care that Amani received, if any, due to patient privacy laws. More than one in five people – about 22% – of those incarcerated in the San Francisco County Jail at some point in 2018 have been diagnosed as critically ill with mental illness, according to the ministry of health.

Police shot and killed another man who charged officers with a knife in October 2020, body camera footage showed. The number of shootings involving police officers, use of force incidents and gun pointing has declined in recent years, according to police data.

“It’s our goal not to have these incidents and to have better results,” Scott said.

Mallory Moench is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @mallorymoench


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