A San Diego cop who was allowed to change his story after he watched surveillance footage that captured him fatally shooting an unarmed, mentally ill homeless man in an alley was never interviewed by internal affairs investigators.
Nor did the California cop have to answer to any superior officers in his department because none of them were interested in investigating the shooting.
He did speak with homicide detectives five days after the shooting, but they were only investigating whether he broke any law. Internal affairs would have determined if he had violated departmental policy.
But even giving conflicting statements to homicide detectives did not arouse any interest from internal affairs to conduct their own investigation.
Not even his claim that his body cam was turned off, which is a violation of departmental policy, was enough to launch an internal affairs investigation.
In December of 2015, PINAC’s Maya Shaffer reported about video evidence showing an interview with homicide detectives just hours after San Diego cop Neal Browder shot Fridoon Rawshan Nehad dead in an alley.
That footage reveals Browder telling investigators he didn’t see any weapons on Nehad when he shot him dead in the alley.
But after viewing the surveillance his shooting, days later, and apparently consulting an attorney, Browder changed his story saying, “He was going to stab me. There’s no doubt in my mind that he was going to stab me.”
Nehan was holding a shiny pen.
The video actually shows Browder charging Nehad, while he appears alive, immediately after he shoots him.
On Sept 19 2016, The San Diego Union Tribune reported officer Browder was never questioned by internal affairs after interviewing with San Diego homicide detectives five days later.
In a deposition, reported about last month by the Voice of San Diego, Browder stated in a deposition that he knew up to 10 other cops who’d been involved in fatal shootings.
And none of them had been questioned by internal affairs before returning back to work.
Browder testified he was not disciplined over the shooting nor did any department official or any internal affairs investigator speak to him about his actions that night.
Officer Browder also stated he hadn’t been drug tested, and that nobody ever asked him to take a drug test.
Jeffrey Noble, the former Irvine deputy police chief and expert on police matters, said testing ideally should be a “routine part of any investigation when there is deadly use of force.” Other public employees are subjected to drug testing, especially when involved in fatalities.
This May, PINAC’s Carlos Miller reported that after Browder was cleared and put back on duty, he was involved in a shooting at an apartment while checking on a probationer.
A bullet from his gun was shot through a baby’s crib.
Luckily no baby was in the crib at the time, but after that incident, he was assigned to a desk job at the Field Training Office.
San Diego police also resisted making the video of last year’s shooting death public, saying it would put police at risk, but finally released it eight months later.
A newly released, much clearer, higher-quality video of the shooting can be seen below.
Attorneys who filed a lawsuit for the Nehad family say officer Browder is a “repeat offender.” They requested all records for fatal and non-fatal shootings committed by San Diego cops for the past three years and argued it was to sh0w “the extent to which SDPD has or has not improved its policies and practices as to the investigation of police shootings and the discipline of those involved.”
The city contested the request, saying it would cost the city approximately $12,000 to assemble and redact confidential, private or legally privileged information from 15,000 documents, 403 compact discs and 217 DVDs.
Former Irvine deputy police chief Jeffrey Noble said the fact that internal affairs investigators never interviewed Browder separately from homicide investigators is troubling, because homicide investigators focus on whether the use of deadly force was criminal; internal affairs investigators focus on training and policy issues and whether or not they were followed.
“These investigations are very different,” Noble said. “It tells me the department is turning a blind eye to training and policy issues.”
Officer Browder’s body cam was turned off, which is against SDPD’s policy.