Crime - Sacto 911

Showing video, Sacramento police challenge witness accounts in Flame Club shooting

The Sacramento Police Department is disputing accounts from two women who criticized the behavior and response time of officers at the scene of a midtown shooting last weekend.

The department’s response came after The Sacramento Bee published witness accounts of the women, who aided one of two shooting victims outside the Flame Club at 16th and V streets at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

One victim, identified Thursday as Robert E. Oden, 31, died following the shooting. The other remained in a hospital Thursday and was expected to survive. No arrests have been made.

The women said officers were slow to respond to the bar, and that they treated one of the women – who had taken off her shirt, placed it between herself and the man’s bloody body and performed CPR – disrespectfully.

In a rare move, police allowed two Sacramento Bee reporters to view a segment of the dashboard camera video taken from the first police vehicle to arrive on scene.

The Police Department also released a timeline of the incident compiled using computerized dispatch logs, report summaries, in-car videos and eyewitness accounts. Police posted their timeline on various social media accounts this week.

“It’s to show you that there are two sides to a story,” police spokesman Sgt. Bryce Heinlein said.

The department has been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks for the fatal shooting of Joseph Mann, a mentally ill black man, by police officers on Del Paso Boulevard in July.

Heinlein said the witnesses’ accounts of the Flame Club shooting were damaging to the morale of a department already struggling to recruit and retain officers.

“I would ask them, ‘What would your expectation be?’ ” Heinlein said of the women’s criticisms.

In the Flame Club shooting, Diana Anderson and Tanya Faison said they were at the midtown bar when a fight broke out, prompting the manager to order patrons to leave.

“As soon as we got outside, we heard gunshots,” Anderson said.

They started to leave, but Anderson said she felt an urge to return. When they did, they found two men lying on the ground, one not moving.

Anderson said she pulled off her shirt, placed it between herself and the unresponsive man, and began performing chest compressions until police arrived. In The Bee’s story published Tuesday, Anderson and Faison criticized how officers attended to the two injured men once they arrived at the scene.

The women said it took officers about 20 minutes to arrive after shots were fired and that police did not tend to the injured men immediately. Faison said she yelled at police to “do their jobs,” before one of the first responding officers stepped in to perform chest compressions.

Officer Matthew McPhail, a spokesman for the Police Department, said dashcam video and officers’ accounts differ from what Faison and Anderson described.

“The video and the evidence that we have clearly shows that officers were operating in a professional manner,” he said.

In the video, a police car pulls into the parking lot of the Flame Club at 1:33 a.m. The timeline posted on social media lists the time as 1:35 a.m, three minutes after dispatchers received the first report of shots fired.

(The time shown on the video differed from the time used by the dispatch system to compile the timeline posted on social media, McPhail said.)

A shirtless Anderson is seen performing chest compressions on a man. Farther down the bar’s parking lot, a second man is also on the ground.

“Get me an ambulance,” Anderson screams as officers approached the area. Other people, including Faison, are visible in the video.

One officer tends to the man down the parking lot. The second officer appears to be looking at the body of the man closest to the camera before taking over for Anderson in performing chest compressions.

“Our officers are trained to triage victims with violent injuries,” McPhail said. “We had the luxury of somebody who was already delivering aid.”

McPhail said it took 34 seconds from when officers got out of the car to when the officer took over in performing CPR.

He said he understood why Anderson might have felt it took longer.

“It feels like an eternity every single time,” McPhail said about performing CPR on a person who is severely injured. “Those moments feel exceptionally longer than they normally are.”

In the video, a third officer arrives at 1:36 a.m., puts on gloves, and takes over for the officer performing chest compressions, the video shows.

A minute later, sirens are heard, and more police officers arrive on scene. Anderson walks out of the camera’s view to the left, the video shows.

Seconds later, a woman on the left side of the screen is heard yelling at an officer, saying, “We have hella police here, and there’s no ambulance.”

The officer replies, saying an ambulance was on its way. “We are doing CPR, we are trying to save his life,” he said.

The same woman is heard cursing at the police officer after he tells her that she has to stay at the scene to be interviewed.

About 1:40 a.m., paramedics arrive, the video shows. The video ends as a gurney is wheeled up to the man receiving the chest compressions.

McPhail said the patient closest to the police car had the most severe injuries and was transferred to a hospital first. He added that the other man was taken a few minutes later.

“As you can see, this was a very frantic situation,” Heinlein said once the video ended.

The women voiced concern as to how officers treated them. Faison said one officer asked her if she was a member of Black Lives Matter. Both women are members of Black Lives Matter Sacramento, a group that advocates for police reforms and has protested the Mann shooting.

Anderson said she had to make multiple requests to police before she was given a disposable gown to wear and was allowed to clean up in the bar.

“I didn’t expect to be treated like a hero,” Anderson said. “But at the very least, I would have thought I would be treated with respect by the police.”

Heinlein and McPhail said officers at the scene remained calm and professional in the moments following their arrival. McPhail added that he went through several hours of video footage and did not hear any officers asking the women if they were with Black Lives Matter.

Anderson said Thursday afternoon that she did not want to comment further about the incident.

“I’ve said what I needed to say, and I don’t want to go back and forth with the Police Department,” Anderson said.

Faison did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

Nashelly Chavez: 916-321-1188, @nashellytweets

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