SFPD releases video from officer involved shooting inside Subway restaurant
SAN FRANCISCO - Newly released surveillance and police body-worn camera video reveal what unfolded in a San Francisco Subway sandwich shop last week when an officer shot and killed a Texas man.
WARNING: Graphic video
The video shows the suspect ruthlessly attacking a Subway employee with a knife and how at least three bystanders tried to intervene.
This morning, SFPD held a town hall meeting to release the video and talk about the officer who shot and killed 26 year old Nicholas Flusche.
The Subway video shows transient Nicholas Flusche wearing a camouflage shirt, standing at the counter. Police said he ordered a sandwich but refused to pay for it.
A fight broke out and then Flusche can be seen going behind the counter, attacking the employee with a knife.
At least three other bystanders try to intervene; a woman grabs a sandwich tray and hits Flusche with it, another woman throws objects at him, and finally a man tries to pull Flusche off the worker.
Finally, two police officers arrive who had been called to the neighborhood on an unrelated vandalism case.
"The victim and witness began to flee from behind the counter and Mr. Flusche immediately followed both the victim and the witness with a knife in his hand," said Commander Greg McEachern, head of the Investigations Division.
A video freeze-frame shows the knife in Flusche's right hand.
Police aren't sure if he grabbed it off the counter or brought it in with him.
Police-worn body camera video shows Officer Kenneth Cha shoot Flusche in the back as he continues to lunge after the victim.
"Evidence in this case indicates that one officer fires one shot," said Cmdr McEachern. The shot was fatal.
Officers performed life-saving measures on Flusche but he later died.
At the town hall meeting, held across the street from the Subway on Market Street, the crowd peppered Chief Bill Scott with questions.
"I have just one question for the officer, why didn't you just pistol whip the man in the back of the head when he ran past him?" asked Herb Miller.
Chief Scott offered no response only to say that the case was under investigation.
"We expect the scrutiny any time we use force that results in loss of life or serious bodily injury," said Chief Scott.
A few people in the crowd asked about Officer Kenneth Cha who also shot a mentally ill man, 43 year old Sean Moore, in his Oceanview home back in January.
Some claimed Cha was trigger happy.
"Any time he wants a vacation all he's gotta do is go out and shoot somebody!" said Darryl Rogers.
"It's no wonder that people don't trust the police anymore!" yelled another woman.
But others praised Officer Cha and the bystanders in Subway who were able to distract Flusche until police arrived.
"By the sake of God, if they hadn't intervened at the time they did, the victim may not be here today!" bellowed one man who recently formed a neighborhood watch committee on Market Street.
SFPD says it has interviewed the victim and seven witnesses, but is still looking for three more witnesses seen in the videos.
The victim, who received stab wounds to the head is doing well and has been released from the hospital.
KTVU has also learned that Flusche's funeral was held in his hometown in Texas Tuesday.
Sources tell KTVU that Flusche suffered from mental illness and was possibly high on drugs when he attacked the worker. Toxicology results won't be available from the Medical Examiner's Office for several weeks.
Cha is currently on paid administrative leave.
This morning, the Public Defender's Office announced a San Francisco judge dropped all assault charges against Sean Moore. The 43 year old had originally faced 10 counts of assault on a police officer but two weeks ago, a judge tossed all but two of those charges. Today, the entire case was dismissed.
SFPD did not offer any commentary or justification for the shooting. They stuck to the facts for the presentation.
The case will now head to the District Attorney's Office who will decide if Officer Cha was justified in his use of force.
This town hall meeting was a first for Police Chief Bill Scott, who replaced Interim Chief Toney Chaplain on January 23, 2017. Chaplain became interim chief when Chief Greg Suhr was forced to resign after a slew of deadly officer involved shootings. A Department of Justice report outlined 272 recommendations for SFPD to change its use of force policies, accountability and transparency. After an arduous and lengthy search, the Police Commission Scott was tapped to be the new chief.