Freddy Centeno was, by all accounts, a mentally ill man. The police video released recently is graphic and shows the 40-year-old Centeno responding to police commands. According to police accounts, Centeno appeared to be threatening officers. They shot him nine times and he died nearly a month later. Centeno’s family is suing the Fresno Police Department as a result. The Department is defending the use of deadly force in the incident.
The 911 call that led to a police response has also been released which indicates that police had a tip that Centeno was carrying a gun. The video, the 911 call and the response by police are certainly open to interpretation and the perspective of the viewer will certainly color their response to the footage. However, no one can argue that the recent police shootings in Fresno and throughout the nation are not cause for concern. Certainly the coming weeks and months will lead to an investigation and--whether justified or not--the result of this recent shooting may be increased tension between the community and the police.