SDPD releases video of police fatally shooting man during brief gun fight in Barrio Logan
San Diego police released video footage Thursday of officers fatally shooting a 37-year-old man after he drove off during a traffic stop in Logan Heights, then pulled over and opened fire — narrowly missing an officer, police said.
The nearly 10-minute video primarily includes body-worn camera footage of the Jan. 20 encounter, which started when police stopped Christopher Dearman about 11:30 p.m. on Logan Avenue near Cesar E. Chavez Parkway.
He was pulled over by Officers Christopher Aguilar and Jacob Meyers, who have each been with the department for two years and are assigned to Central Division. Both opened fire during the brief shootout, which happened about eight minutes after they initiated the traffic stop.
The video shows the two officers on either side of Dearman’s pickup. Aguilar, on the passenger’s side, tells Dearman they stopped him because one of the truck’s brake lights was out.
Aguilar then asks Dearman why he had just been on nearby 17th Street, a spot the officer said is known for “narcotics and a bunch of bad stuff going on there.”
The officer says he can smell marijuana, and asks Dearman if he has some in the vehicle. The video is obscured by the passenger door, but Dearman appears to reach toward the passenger seat. The officers then say they are going to search the vehicle because he can smell it and because Dearman indicated he had some in the pickup.
“I gotta make sure you’re not taking it anywhere or illegally transporting it. Make sense?” the officer says.
“Yeah, but I am not doing anything wrong,” Dearman says.
Aguilar says he has “probable cause” to check the vehicle to be sure the driver is not illegally transporting marijuana. Dearman protests.
Police run Dearman’s name through a law enforcement database, then tell him they found that he has a history of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
They tell him to exit the pickup, and Dearman continues to protest.
“For a broken tail light?” Dearman says.
“We just gotta check the car and make sure there’s no guns, that’s it,” one of the officers says.
“You have no right,” Dearman says.
“Based on your previous history, yes we do,” one of them says, telling Dearman he has a history of having firearms in a vehicle.
Dearman says the officers had been profiling him. A police supervisor who arrived on the scene also tells Dearman to get out of the vehicle.
Aguilar reaches in and unlocks Dearman’s driver door. Dearman starts the engine. The officers order him to shut it off. He hits the gas and drives off.
Police get into their vehicle and chase him, with lights and sirens on. One of the officers warns the other to be careful because Dearman might have a gun.
Two blocks up the road, near Chicano Park, surveillance video shows Dearman stopping, jumping out of the vehicle and pointing a gun at the officers.
Police said Dearman fired multiple times, and one round struck the hood and car frame near the windshield on the driver’s side of the car, which Meyers was driving.
According to the video and police, Aguilar and Meyers fire back. Dearman falls to the ground.
Police have previously said that after the shooting, officers ordered Dearman to move away from his gun, and when he didn’t, a police dog was sent in to pull him away from it. None of that was on the video released by police.
Dearman was taken to a hospital, where he died.