Two US police suspended after shooting captured on video

AFP , Wednesday 2 Sep 2015

Two US police officers have been suspended after a video surfaced showing the fatal shooting of a man with at least one arm up at the time, local media reported Wednesday.

The roughly four-minute footage was aired by KSAT, a local broadcaster in San Antonio, Texas, who paid $100 for it.

Friday's incident has also sparked an FBI investigation and outraged rights groups.

Shot from a distance and shaky at times, the video shows a shirtless man being approached by two officers in a residential neighborhood in broad daylight.

The man, identified as Gilbert Flores, is seen raising his right arm, with the other obscured by a pole. Several seconds later, the man falls to the ground after what sounds like two shots ringing out.

The officers, Greg Vasquez and Robert Sanchez, both sheriff's deputies, have been placed on paid administrative leave, according to KSAT.

The incident reportedly occurred after police responded to a call about a domestic disturbance.

The Bexar County Sheriff's Office said it was "diligently working" to complete its investigation into the matter but slammed KSAT for broadcasting the footage.

"Broadcasting a man's death for $100 has sparked threats to our deputies' lives," it tweeted.

Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said there was a "lengthy confrontation" between the officers and Flores.

"Certainly what's in the video is a cause for concern," she told reporters. "But it is important to let the investigation go through its course so we can ensure a thorough and complete review of all that occurred."

The FBI in San Antonio said it has opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting.

"Our focus is to determine whether a civil rights violation took place as a result of a deputy willfully engaging in the use of excessive or unjustified force," it said.

Terri Burke, executive director of the Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the video "raises serious concerns over whether these officers used force that was proportional to the circumstances."

"Like other events that we've seen across the country involving interactions with law enforcement, this one points to a troubling trend of overzealous and abusive policing," Burke said in a statement.

Bexar County District Attorney, Nicholas LaHood, meanwhile told CNN of a "troubling" second video of the shooting, saying it contains "a better view to make an assessment on what happened."

"It is a closer view and a better angle," he said.

The controversy coincides with the fatal shooting of a Texas sheriff's deputy, Darren Goforth, who was gunned down from behind and shot multiple times at close range late Friday, allegedly because he was a policeman.

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