A surveillance camera video released shows that San Bernardino cops shot a 23-year-old man only seconds after getting out of their unmarked vehicle. The parents of the man say the officers were callous and hunted their son down “like a dog.”
On Monday, July 18, new footage was released to the public showing what happened minutes before Robert Marquise Adams, a young Black man hustling as a security guard for an illegal gambling facility, was shot by members of the San Bernardino Police Department over the weekend.
Social media was set aflame as concerned citizens questioned the procedure that led to the fatal shooting of Adams on Saturday, July 16.
According to a press release from the department, two officers from a specialized unit were called to investigate a complaint about the gambling spot on the 400 block of West Highland Street. They arrived in uniform around 8:05 p.m. that evening in an unmarked car.
While driving past the suspected facility, located in a parking lot, the officers slowed down before stopping a few yards away from the action. The department says the officers observed Adams pull “a gun from his waistband” before he began walking toward them.
The surveillance video, taken from a local business, showed Adams finishing up a conversation with someone before walking toward the vehicle. It also captures officers jumping out of the car with their guns drawn as he approached them, prompting him to run in the opposite direction, CBS Los Angeles reported.
Within 15 seconds of the cops exiting the car and as Adams ran between two parked cars to escape, the man was fatally shot in the back, dying from those injuries later that night in a local hospital.
The SBPD maintains “officers immediately rendered medical aid,” and that they recovered Adams’ weapon, a loaded Taurus G3C 9mm with a bullet in the chamber at the scene.
According to law enforcement, was an armed felon and an unlicensed security guard for the facility, but the officers did not know his status before his death.
In addition to sharing the officers’ side of what happened, including that there was an additional person taken into custody that night, the SBPD said it was “in the process of investigating this incident and is still gathering facts and evidence.
“We are aware of a surveillance video clip circulating online that fails to provide any details or context as to what occurred during the incident,” the statement read. “We must collect and review all of the information and available evidence (including video) before sharing details.”
The force said, “those details and additional footage will be released.”
In the interim, Chief Darren Goodman is asking the community to “withhold judgment on the situation,” until all of the “facts and details” are available.
Adams’ parents are furious and want answers from the officers regarding their decisions.
“I could understand if he was a threat to them,” Tamika Deavila King, Adams’ mother, told the local station as she tried to make sense of the shooting. “But he was not a threat to them. He was running for his life.”
She said moments before her son was killed she was on the phone with him, then suddenly the call dropped.
“It let me know that’s why the phone hung up because they were killing my son,” she said.
Adams’ stepfather Audwin King commented, “The boy ran. [The officer] hunted him down like a dog. If [Adams] still had some life in him, the [the officer] probably would’ve finished the clip. So, when do we have justice for that?”
The victim’s friend, who remains anonymous, said “They just hopped out with the gun, and they didn’t say anything.”
As family and friends maintain that the officers did not identify themselves in the 15 seconds after exiting and before shooting, the SBPD disputes that narrative completely, writing in a press release, “fully uniformed and tried to give Adams verbal commands before he began to run.”
The family has secured civil rights lawyer Ben Crump to represent them. He called Adams’ death a “horrific execution” when he posted the video on his Twitter:
“Police in San Bernardino, CA, fatally shot 23-year-old Robert Adams execution-style! It’s reported Robert didn’t know there were police in the unmarked car before he ran for his life. We need a full investigation into this horrific execution!”
He also emailed a statement to the Daily Beast saying, “It is unbelievable that another Black family has to bury their child due to police shooting first and asking questions later.”
Shaun King, another outspoken exposer of police-involved violence, posted the shooting on his Instagram and said, “This was a brutal execution,” and that from his assessment of the video “one officer appears to have shot him at least 9 times in the back.”
The official number of times Adams was shot has not been released.
The stepfather said to KTLA in an exclusive interview that Adams had a weapon and was “protecting himself” due to violent robberies in the area. Police seem to confirm that by releasing an image that seems to be of Adams holding a firearm.
Still, the family wants murder charges filed against the officer that shot their relative.
“We want justice. We want his badge. We want his job,” King demanded. “We want murder charges.”
The SBPD said it was investigating the incident, however, oftentimes an outside law enforcement agency is brought in to take over investigations like this. It is unclear if that has been decided.