CRIME

Family Of Man Shot To Death By Fresno Police Release Disturbing Video

The officers said he reached for what looked like a gun -- but wasn't.

The family of a mentally ill man killed by Fresno, California, police released on Thursday what the family's lawyers said was the officers' body camera footage of the incident. The video shows two officers shooting Freddy Centeno seven times in September 2015.

Officers said the 40-year-old man refused to get on the ground when instructed and instead reached toward what they believed to be a gun tucked into his shorts, according to a senior police official.

Lawyers hired by the Centeno family described the situation differently. "I’ve been a civil rights attorney for 29 years, and I’ve never seen a police shooting this bad,” attorney Humberto Guizar told the Fresno Bee.

Scroll down to see the video.

As noted at a police press conference held later on Thursday, the officers were responding to a 911 call from a woman who said she'd been threatened by a shirtless man who had claimed he was a federal agent and had shown her a "black, small handgun."

The footage released by the Centeno family lawyers shows the officers identifying themselves and then opening fire when Centeno does not immediately lie down. The officers shot nine bullets, seven of which hit him.

Instead of a gun, Centeno's weapon turned out to be a black garden hose nozzle. 

"It's black in color. It has a trigger on it. It's not a water gun, but it's some type of spray device that looks like a pistol," Fresno Deputy Chief Pat Farmer told ABC30 last fall.

The video seems to indicate that less than two seconds elapsed between the officers telling Centeno to lie down and the officers opening fire -- although it's unclear if the playback speed of the footage is accurate.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told the Bee that the video from the family distorts the actual event. A text overlay on the footage says it has been "enhanced," although the note does not explain how.

Watch the video below. Warning: Contains graphic content.

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