And there just seems to be no break from the unrelenting bad news as it relates to race relations in the United States of America. On Wednesday, San Clemente, California, home of the surfboard industry, entered the ugly fray when two Orange County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed an unarmed homeless Black man after stopping him for jaywalking.
1:15 p.m. Wednesday, two deputies with a homeless outreach team encountered Kurt Andras Reinhold, 42, near the Hotel Miramar, off of South El Camino Real.
It is unclear what prompted it, but a ground fight broke out, the Sheriff’s Department said shortly after the shooting.
The department said Reinhold – whose last known address was in Los Angeles County – reached for a deputy’s gun before he was shot. Two gunshots were fired by one deputy during the incident.
Shortly after Reinhold was shot, deputies began lifesaving measures but they were unsuccessful.
I have no doubt that policing is more difficult, more potentially dangerous, than ever but the “victim-was-reaching-for officer’s-gun” excuse is, let’s be honest, ridiculously overused, generally unprovable even with “photo evidence” and at this point beggars belief.
A demonstration rocked typically quite San Clemente the next day, beginning at the former site of the Pipes Cafe and organized by former City Council candidate Jackson Hinkle.
Hinkle told the Register he believes the San Clemente shooting was related to the Sheriff’s Department and other law-enforcement personnel trying to step up jaywalking enforcement, adding, “Instead of giving him food and support, they gave him two bullets. Instead of letting him walk away, they body slammed him to the ground and pinned him. I want justice. I want those officers arrested.”
Sheriff Don Barnes asked the public to reserve judgement until an investigation has taken place which seems particularly unlikely as Reinhold’s death occurred directly on the heels of a decision in Kentucky not to prosecute officers there over the shooting death of Breonna Taylor. Justice, for many, seeming an un-reachable fantasy.
Whatever one’s beliefs on Black Lives Matter etc., the loss of Reinhold is tragic in every way.
Every single damned way.