Unarmed man shot dead by BART police officer
from various sources – November 2018
submitted by – Tippa Naphtali
Updates on this case listed at the foot of this item
On 3 January 2018 Shaleem Tindle, aged 28, was engaged in a physical struggle with another man when he was fatally shot by Officer Joseph Mateu. Graphic footage of the shooting captured on Mateu’s body-worn camera prompted public outrage when it revealed Tindle had been shot three times in the back while raising at least one of his hands.
Officer Mateu was at the center of the Bay Area’s latest officer-involved shooting controversy. He is seen on his body camera video being alerted by people at the station that a shooting has happened. “Where? Where?” Mateu shouts frantically.
The officer then starts running to the scene with his gun drawn and shouts several times to Shaleem and another man on the 7th Street sidewalk; “Let me see your hands.” They don’t heed his words immediately; it’s not clear if they heard him. Mateu does not identify himself as a police officer, although it would appear evident from his tone and pace that he is racing to prevent the two from harming each other or anyone else.
Within seconds, Mateu fires off three shots. At no point did Tindle or the other man appear to threaten the officer, and he never identified himself as a police officer. The video shows that he did not pause or try any de-escalate the situation before firing his weapon.
Shaleem’s family immediately sought answers and hired high-profile civil rights attorney John Burris to help them.
Police claimed Shaleem was shot by Mateu for refusing to drop a gun. The videos do not clearly show Shaleem holding a gun, as BART police have insisted, although police cautioned it’s just one piece of information that should not be taken out of context.
In stills from the released video, BART officials highlight what appears to be a gun, first in the other man’s hand, and then in the next frame on the ground near Shaleem as he rolls over on his back. The police chief said authorities believe that the gun may have been in Shaleem’s hands when he was shot, and then his hands were up and empty after he was shot by the officer.
The other man, who appears in the video, had been in a struggle with Shaleem and was also wounded. He was said to be shot in the leg, according to witnesses and the family’s attorney.
John Burris, the family’s legal attorney, said that the video did not support the police version of what occurred that day and that the police version was false. He maintains that the body-camera video footage shows that Shaleem was unarmed and appeared to be complying with the officer. “The man had his back to Mateu and was bringing his empty hands into the air when he was shot. The officer didn’t have enough information to justify using deadly force”, according to Burris.
Burris also said; “He didn’t have a basis to just willy-nilly decide to just recklessly shoot somebody without knowing what in fact that person had done or was doing at the time he shot him. There is no lawful or justifiable reason for Officer Mateu to fire three shots into Shaleem’s back.”
Officer Mateu was initially placed on paid administrative leave but was cleared to return to work two weeks after the shooting. An Oakland police spokesperson said, “I want to remind folks to reserve their judgment as to the conduct of our officer until the investigations have run their course.”
In February 2018 the family called for the officer to be fired and charged with murder. His mother said; “A BART police officer murdered my son, shot him in the back with his arms up,”
The family planned to file a state law claim against both BART police and officer Mateu. They were to seek damages for both the death of Shaleem as well as his family’s loss of their familial relationship.
The family’s fight for justice continues!
Outrage as BART cops kill again
28 February 2018
BART releases full video of deadly police shooting
21 February 2018
Family of Man Killed by BART Officer to File Lawsuit
13 February 2018