Police bodycam footage released Thursday night at a town hall meeting shows a San Francisco police officer shooting a man in the back during a brief foot chase early Saturday in the city’s North Beach neighborhood.
The man -- Oliver Barcenas, 28 -- is being treated at San Francisco General Hospital, which has not released details of his condition. Police say Barcenas was carrying a semi-automatic handgun at the time of the shooting.
The incident began just after midnight on June 9 at the corner of Grant Avenue and Vallejo Street, where two uniformed officers on patrol in a marked police vehicle approached a group of four men they believed were drinking in public.
One officer approached the group while his partner parked the car.
In the bodycam footage, the officer can be heard speaking with the four men about open alcohol containers and saying, "No one's going anywhere," as Barcenas appeared to edge away from the group. The video then shows Barcenas turning and running along Grant Avenue. The officer chases Barcenas on foot.
Police say that as he ran, Barcenas took a Glock .45-caliber handgun from his waist. As the officer dashed past bystanders, he opened fire, and Barcenas fell to the sidewalk.
In the video, the officer’s weapon can be heard being discharged twice. Asked by another officer where Barcenas had been wounded, the officer who opened fire says, "Two shots in the back." At another point, the officer reaches down to the wounded and apparently semi-conscious Barcenas and says, "Dude, are you all right?"
The video shows a chaotic scene in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, with an angry crowd advancing on and cursing the unidentified officer.
There's no evidence in the video that Barcenas pointed his gun toward the officer. According to SFPD’s use-of-force policy, an officer should use deadly force only “as a last resort when reasonable alternatives have been exhausted or are not feasible to protect the safety of the public and police officers.”
At the town hall, many residents criticized the shooting.
“It’s scary for me,” said Theresa Flandrich. “As a mother, and as someone who has lived here for decades in North Beach, I’m really concerned about the shooting.”
Wanda Ravernell echoed that sentiment. “A man running away wasn’t posing as much of a problem -- to me -- as the policeman who was shooting him,” she said.
San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who represents North Beach, was also in attendance.
“Those videos do not look good,” he said.
Peskin commended SFPD’s efforts at transparency. “Policing and transparency has changed, and I’m appreciative of that,” he said.
Natalie April, who said she’s a former co-worker of Barcenas, also questioned the officer’s actions.
“I just feel like the officer jumped the gun,” she said. “I think he was doing his job, but it looks really bad.”
Barcenas was previously shot by police in 2012. Assistant Chief Toney Chaplin -- a sergeant at the time -- shot Barcenas, who was carrying a loaded semi-automatic pistol, three times during a pursuit in the city’s Mission District.
An investigation by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office found that Chaplin acted lawfully in self-defense in that incident.
Police have not yet released the name of the officer in Saturday’s shooting, but say they will within 10 days of the incident, per department policy.
Barcenas was placed under arrest after the shooting and charged with delaying an officer, carrying a concealed firearm, exhibiting a firearm and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
SFPD’s homicide detail and internal affairs division, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and the city Department of Police Accountability are all investigating the shooting.