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Cal State San Bernardino student shooting: LA activists demand answers over deadly force

December 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The Los Angeles Civil Rights Association is demanding a fast-track investigation by the district attorney's office into the shooting death of a California State University, San Bernardino, graduate student.

Campus police said they shot 38-year-old Bartholomew Williams on Saturday night during what they characterize as a violent altercation between Williams and three officers.

Police were called to Williams' off-campus dormitory twice before in the same day. It was during their third contact with Williams that he allegedly started kicking an officer on the ground. Police said that's when the other officers opened fire in the student housing complex. Williams was struck in the upper body and pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives later learned that Williams suffered from a mental illness.

"We have information from his family that he suffered from a mental instability and was probably off his medication at the time of the incident," said Lt. Paul Williams of the San Bernardino city police department.

The civil rights group want to know why nonlethal force was not used to subdue the student. At a press conference Monday, activists and students condemned the shooting and demanded action.

Eddie Jones, president of the Los Angeles Civil Rights Association, said the civil rights group plans on pushing legislation in the movement for mental health parity.

"We will go to the Congress person in San Bernardino to work on moving legislation for people who have mental illnesses on campus," Jones said.

Bill Dowdy, a student at CSUSB, said officers should be adequately trained to deal with the mentally ill.

"I am retired from law enforcement so I know what type of training that goes on that should exist to prevent these types of situations," Dowdy said. "We must look into that type."

Besides specialized training, the Los Angeles Civil Rights Association said it is working to push legislation allowing campus police officers to carry stun guns or other nonlethal forms of self-protection. They also urge more counseling.

According to the university, Williams was majoring in educational-instructional technology. He was enrolled in one course during the recent fall quarter, which ended Friday. He began taking courses at CSUSB in summer 2011.

The three officers have been placed on paid administrative leave while the San Bernardino Police Department investigates the shooting.


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