Family members protest deadly force from Fresno police

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Family members of a man who was shot and killed by Fresno Police took a stand in protest of deadly use of force on Wednesday. (KFSN)

Family members of a man who was shot and killed by Fresno Police took a stand in protest of deadly use of force on Wednesday.

Freddy Centeno was shot by two officers on September 3rd and he died 3 weeks later.

His brother, Rogelio said, "He was in the hospital fighting for his life but his whole body was destroyed by the bullets."

He says his brother was his best friend and he was by his side until the end, "He meant the world to me and right now -- losing him, I'm lost."

Centeno says his 40-year-old brother was mentally ill and officers were too quick to use deadly force. So on Wednesday, he stood with family, church leaders and brown berets outside police headquarters to protest.

"Policies need to change so other families don't have to go through what my family is going through, which is the worst pain ever," Centeno said.

In August, the chief of police talked about change at a community meeting -- how his officers are learning de-escalation tactics, as well as how to deal with people with mental health issues -- training, the Centenos say should have been put to practice when officers confronted Freddy.

Deputy Chief Robert Nevarez says that morning, there was a threat and his officers had to make a quick decision.

"He (the suspect) placed his hand in his pocket and created a reasonable threat and they responded in the manner they are trained and that is to fire their firearms at him," Nevarez said.

What was believed to be a gun, turned out to be a black spray nozzle. Still, Nevarez says the officers didn't know who Centeno was or the mental state he was in. But even if they did, he says it wouldn't have changed what happened that day.

"It's certainly something we can try to use to handle that event but that gun, what we believe to be a gun in somebody's hand at that moment, that factor outweighs everything else," Nevarez said, "and we have to take steps to neutralize that threat."

The two officers who shot Centeno were on paid administrative leave and have since, returned to work. Centeno's family has hired an attorney to take the fight to court.



Related Topics:
crimetrackershootingofficer-involved shootingfresno police departmentmental healthFresno
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