Lodi, CA – The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office ruled that two Lodi police officers’ fatal shooting of a man during a traffic stop was justified (video below).
The shooting occurred on Oct. 23, 2017 after officers stopped a white Honda Pilot in the 900-block of North Pleasant Avenue, KCRA reported.
Dashcam video of the incident showed Lodi Police Officer Daniel Bristow standing beside the driver’s window of the stopped vehicle when he told the dispatcher he needed additional units at the traffic stop.
While they were waiting for backup to arrive, Officer Bristow saw the backseat passenger – 35-year-old Matthew Palaita – throw something into the back cargo area of the SUV, according to the Record.
When Lodi Police Officer Dominic Carillo arrived on the scene, the video showed Officer Bristow directed him to the back passenger side door and told him that Palaita was hiding something.
“Dom, if you come up on the passenger side, there’s one hiding back here. He threw something in the backseat,” Officer Bristow told his backup.
Officer Carillo opened up the passenger side rear door and asked Palaita what was going on and told him to step out of the vehicle, bodycam showed.
Palaita replied that he was sick.
“Man, here man,” Palaita said suddenly, turning sideways in his seat to face Officer Carillo. “I’m f--king tired of your f--king s--t, yo.”
“Let me see your hands,” Officer Carillo ordered him in the video. He proceeded to give the command several more time, as did Officer Bristow, and Palaita ignored them both.
Officer Bristow went to pull the driver out of the front seat.
Then, all of a sudden, the video showed Palaita jumped out of the SUV with a gun in his right hand, pointed at Officer Carillo.
″... Mr. Palaita quickly removed his right hand from the cargo area and began to exit the vehicle pointing a Harrington & Richardson .22-caliber revolver directly at Officer Carillo,” the district attorney’s report said.
Both Officers Carillo and Bristow opened fire on Palaita, taking him to the ground.
The officers took lifesaving measures after they shot him, but Palaita was pronounced dead on the scene, KCRA reported.
The district attorney’s report said that Palaita was struck five times by the officers’ bullets.
The driver of the SUV told police that as they were being pulled over that day, Palaita had said “Ah man, I can’t go to jail,” according to the Record.
The driver remained down on the pavement where Officer Bristow had put him just before gunfire erupted and was not injured, the video showed.
Investigators from the district attorney’s office, the Lodi Police Department, the San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office, and the California Department of Justice conducted the investigation, the Record reported.
On Friday, the San Joaquin District Attorney’s Office announced that “... in light of all the evidence obtained from the multi-task force investigation, it is the opinion of the District Attorney that the lethal use of force used by both Officer Daniel Bristow and Officer Dominic Carillo, on October 23, 2017, was justified, and that no criminal charges are warranted.”
The investigation was actually completed in April, but the district attorney’s office postponed the announcement at the request of Palaita’s family, who live far away and needed to make travel arrangements to be present, KCRA reported.
Watch the traffic stop and shooting in the video below (the action starts at 4:45.) WARNING: Graphic Content.