SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- Nearly one year since a 29-year-old man went to jail after being shot by Rialto police, his family and friends are calling for his release.
Lawrence Bender faces charges for resisting police after he was shot in San Bernardino on June 29, 2019.
Last week, a group of about 100 people showed up in downtown San Bernardino demanding his release. His family was also there.
Rialto police say the officer involved was working a case that involved the towing of a vehicle when Bender walked up toward the tow truck.
"Get away from the truck!" an officer is heard yelling in body camera footage.
The video shows Bender opening the door of the truck, then walking away. Bender puts his hands up and gets down on the ground.
But the officer has testified in a courtroom that Bender kept squirming around and kept trying to get up.
"When the officer walked up to him, and ordered him to the ground, you can see he complied," said Leodis Harrison, Bender's uncle. "He put his hands up and went straight to the ground. At that time it should have been diffused right there."
Bender gets away, and as he jumps up, police say he tried to swipe at the officer - perhaps to knock his gun away.
The officer gets him down on the ground again, but Bender jumps up again. He is seen appearing to swing at the officer.
The officer testified that Bender was four and six feet away, and swung at him or his firearm.
At that moment, the officer fires. Bender was treated for two gunshot wounds, Rialto police said.
"Mr. Bender did not listen to the officer's commands to stay on the ground, not once, not twice, not 10 times, not 20, but 30 different times in less than two minutes to stay and remain on the ground," Rialto Police Chief Mark Kling said. "Had he done that, we probably would have had a different outcome."
Kling said officers did CPR on Bender, who was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
He survived and is still in jail on charges for resisting an officer.
"It's clear that you can see the swipe of the gun," Kling said. "And if that gun gets away, it creates a bigger problem, not only just for the officer, but the innocent bystander tow truck driver standing there, while the officer then tries to fight for a weapon."
The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office is still investigating the officer's decision to fire.
Family of man wounded by Rialto police 1 year ago demand his release from jail
Nearly one year since a 29-year-old man went to jail after being shot by Rialto police, his family and friends are calling for his release.
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