Kurt Reinhold, 42, is a homeless black man.
He was killed during a struggle with two Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies in San Clemente that was caught on camera on Wednesday.
The incident sparked protests on Thursday against police brutality which eventually led to the city council imposing a curfew.
According to authorities, Reinhold was homeless and had moved to the Southern California town from nearby Los Angeles in the past month.
Witnesses said the two officers stopped Reinhold for jaywalking, though Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes did not confirm the claims.
A bystander caught the incident with two officers on camera, showing the 42-year-old stood in the middle of South El Camino Real outside the Miramar Hotel, shouting at the cops “Don’t touch me”, while they told him to sit on the sidewalk.
In the video, Reinhold can be heard saying: “Where did I jaywalk? Why did you stop me?” while walking towards them, the two cops tackled him to the ground and struggled with him.
Cars driving along the street blocked the camera´s view of the struggle as one-shot rings out, then another about five seconds later and the sounds of sirens wail the background.
In another video, the officers can be seen performing chest compressions in an effort to save Reinhold.
Sheriff Barnes of Orange County Sheriff’s Department said the grainy photo released showed Reinhold reaching for one deputy’s weapon, though the sheriff said it’s not clear if he was able to get it out.
Sheriff Barnes also added he didn’t yet know why the two veteran officers on the department’s homeless outreach unit tried to stop Reinhold on the street. Police made multiple attempts to get him help but he declined, he said.
The two officers involved are eight- and 13-year veterans who are part of a 25-member unit that attempts to engage with the homeless people and get them into service programs for mental health, drug addiction, or other issues.
They are trained in de-escalation and crisis intervention.Barnes said deputies are taught to try to gain compliance without violence.
Barnes said the tackling of Reinhold was ‘not something we want to see happen.’ The deputies have been placed on leave and the Orange County district attorney is investigating. He also acknowledged Reinhold´s death came at a tenuous time for the country.
“Given the current climate of police and community relations, I understand that this conversation is going to be a difficult one around this incident,” Barnes said.
“However, it is vitally important that we reserve judgment until a full and complete investigation has been complete by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office”
“We will protect the First Amendment rights of those who want to publicly mourn Mr. Reinhold. What we as a community should not tolerate is commentary or action that serves to divide,” Barnes added. “Spreading rumors and misinformation about the identity of the decedent or the reason he was he was contacted by deputies is irresponsible and dangerous.”
How Reinhold ended up in the streets remains unclear. Photos posted on his Facebook account show happier days. The son of an elementary school teacher posted pictures of himself in 2015 dressed in a suit on a date with his children’s mother at the Hollywood Pantages Theater where they saw a performance of Riverdance 2.
On Friday, Reinhold’s family, seen hugging each other next to Black Lives Matter signs on the lawn outside their home in Los Angeles.