Riverside Police released an edited video on Wednesday, November 24, that shows an officer opening a door and shooting an unarmed woman who told her there was a stranger in her apartment with a gun.
The woman was shot in the shoulder once and she survived.
The September 20 shooting in the 800 block of Blaine Street is being investigated by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Force Investigation Statement. As is the policy, the district attorney’s office will review the officer’s actions to determine whether he has committed a crime. The police department is probing whether the shooting took place as per the policy.
Department spokesman Ryan Relsbach said Wednesday that, citing the investigation, the department was withholding comment on why the officer opened fire.
Police Chief Larry Gonzalez, who narrated the video, said officers were called to the apartment complex at 2:17 p.m. The woman, whose name has not been publicly announced, told a 911 dispatcher that a man was in her upper echelons. Went to the apartment. Twice, she told the dispatcher that she didn’t know him. Gonzalez said it was revealed that Rayson Bingham Jr., 29, of San Bernardino, was her boyfriend.
The video shows an officer looking for a backpack with a handcuff in the bushes below the woman’s apartment. Then the officers go upstairs and knock on the woman’s door thrice, pretending to be a police officer and asking her to open the door. When she doesn’t respond, the officers debate whether to kick it.
As an officer prepares to do so, the woman calls the dispatcher back and says that the man had left her apartment.
“So, where did that person go?” The dispatcher asks.
Also outside, the officer who shoots is heard saying to his partner in the video, “(stray) yeh dude, we’re already booting this thing.” The second officer says, “Go for it.”
On the 911 tape, as the dispatcher finishes his question, two explosions can be heard – apparently the sound of doors breaking and shots fired.
The video shows the officer firing immediately after forcibly opening the door. The video, in which the camera is pointed slightly downwards, shows only the lower half of the man dressed in green. It doesn’t show what the officer might have seen above. The woman can be heard shouting, “Oh!”
Railsback stated that the officers returned to duty after being placed on leave in accordance with per department policy.
It turned out that the man was still in the apartment. Gonzalez said Bingham held the woman back until the officers heard a knock.
Bingham was charged with false imprisonment, refusing a witness, being a criminal in possession of a firearm, and making criminal intimidation. Superior Court records show that he pleaded not guilty to all charges.