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Charlotte man had arms raised when police shot him in September, new videos show

Michael Gordon, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in News & Features

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Newly released video of the September police shooting of Rueben Galindo shows the Charlotte man exiting his apartment with his hands raised above his head seconds before officers fatally shot him.

Between three and four seconds elapse from when Galindo appears at his doorway, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers begin to shout orders for him to drop his weapon, and a series of gunshots ring out, the videos show.

The 29-year-old then slumps to the ground outside his northeast Charlotte apartment, 13 seconds after one of the approaching officers first called out his name.

While police Chief Kerr Putney on Friday continued to defend his officer's decisions to shoot Galindo, a national expert in police shootings who viewed the videos at the request of the Charlotte Observer, called the footage "troubling," and said that Galindo appeared to be trying to comply with two separate police orders -- drop it and throw it down -- when he was shot.

"In and of itself, the video does not show that the officers are legally justified to shoot," said Phil Stinson, a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University and a former law enforcement officer who tracks police shootings around the country.

"Without legal justification you're left with either murder or manslaughter. This one, I've watched it a dozen times and I question whether a murder has been committed."

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Body cam footage shows views from Charlotte officers who shot man with hands raised

Body cam footage obtained by the Observer through a court order reveals that CMPD shot and killed Rueben Galindo, 29, who had called 911 and said he had a gun but no bullets. A dispatcher told officers that a Spanish-speaking man had called and wanted officers to help him. The officers who fired were Courtney Suggs and David Guerra.

Putney told the Observer on Friday that videos never tell the whole story of what officers perceived at the time.

Officers have limited options when facing a lethal threat, the chief said, and have to think about saving their own lives and the lives of other people.

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