A newly-released video (below) reveals an unarmed, mentally ill man's last moments before Los Angeles county police shot him dead in Lakewood, California, on July 6.
The involved officers said that they shot 31-year-old John Berry after he rammed his BMW into a police car, pinning a deputy between two cars, according to the LA Times.
"Fearing for the deputy's life, the assisting deputies fired at the suspect," said an official statement.
But a shaky, three-minute cell phone video taken by a neighbor may tell a different story.
In the video, deputies try to have Berry exit his vehicle, but he refuses, and they beat him with batons and use Tasers.
"Stop beating him!" the neighbor filming the ordeal continuously yells. "He didn't do nothing wrong."
"Come on out, Johnny," she tells him several times, while officers try to coerce him into stepping out of the car.
The car backs up, and the officers open fire.
"The video, while it shows only a portion of the incident, is consistent with other information developed during the investigation," Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said in a statement, adding that the investigation is ongoing.
John had been fighting mental illness, his family said. A few days after he lost his job as a pizzeria manager, John showed up in front of his family's house, and his brother, Chris Berry, knew something was wrong.
Chris, a police officer, called the Lakewood Sheriff's department to ask for a mental evaluation, but deputies showed up instead and immediately escalated the situation with violence, Chris said. "What did I do wrong," John reportedly asked, stunned.
"They said he accelerated and crashed into the police car," Chris said. "That did not happen — I was there for the whole thing. But they have to say that because it justifies their aggressive actions.… I believe in my heart and I know Johnny wasn't trying to hurt them."
The Berry family has filed a lawsuit against the police department and the county for negligence, assault and battery and civil rights violations.
"No one here should have to endure the pain of watching a loved one unnecessarily and unlawfully be shot right before their eyes," said attorney Steven Carlson.