SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – The family of a 42-year-old homeless Black man who was shot and killed by Orange County Sheriff’s deputies in San Clemente in September, sparking protests, has filed a federal lawsuit.
The family of Kurt Reinhold filed a lawsuit against Orange County Thursday alleging that deputies violated his Fourth and 14th Amendment rights and were guilty of negligence.
On the afternoon of Sept. 23, Reinhold was shot while getting into a scuffle with two deputies in front of the Hotel Miramar at El Camino Real and Avenida San Gabriel.
appeared to try to bring a deputy’s gun out of its holster during an encounter with deputies Wednesday afternoon in front of the Hotel Miramar.
The two deputies, who were part of the department’s homeless outreach team, were in the area when they approached Reinhold outside the hotel.
Reinhold was unarmed. However, O.C. Sheriff Don Barnes told reporters at a news conference the following day that Reinhold appeared to try to pull a deputy’s gun out of its holster. Surveillance video obtained by CBSLA shows Reinhold struggling with deputies while on the ground.
A witness told investigators they heard a deputy shout “He’s got my gun!” at least four times, Barnes said.
The deputies performed CPR, but Reinhold died at the scene.
It’s still unclear why the deputies initially approached Reinhold.
Reinhold, who had been diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder, was jaywalking across a street and was almost to the other side when they pushed him back to the other side, according to the family’s attorney Neil Gehlawat. He said Reinhold was prone to wandering around the state, sometimes in the Bay Area, and for an unknown reason ended up in San Clemente.
Locals told CBSLA Reinhold frequents the area and shortly before he was killed had gone inside a nearby store to buy some food.
The shooting of Reinhold prompted protests the following morning which lead to several arrests.
Gehlawat faulted OCSD for not properly training its deputies to handle the mentally ill.
“We’ve heard from sources and workers who work with the officers that times when they would interact with them, they were often disturbed how these deputies tended to interact with homeless people,” Gehlawat said.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Reinhold’s wife, Latoya, their son and daughter, ages 8 and 7, and his mother, Judy Reinhold-Tucker.
“The Reinhold family is frustrated by the Department’s complete lack of transparency,” said the family’s attorneys in a statement. “The Department and Sheriff Barnes still have not provided an explanation as to why these deputies were interacting with Kurt in the first place, and despite multiple requests, the Department has failed to turn over their investigative reports relating to the shooting. They haven’t so much as even told us the names of the involved deputies.”
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)