Oak Park

Body Cam, Streetlight Footage Released in Deadly Police Shooting of ‘Erratic' Suspect

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The San Diego Police Department released body camera and smart streetlight footage Wednesday from an Oak Park foot chase that ended when an officer shot and killed the suspect while reportedly struggling with him on Jan. 24.

In the footage released Wednesday, a smart streetlight camera shows Toby Diller, 31, pacing at the northeast corner of College Grove Drive and 54th Street in Oak Park at around 3:45 p.m.

Two police officers were driving in the area on patrol when they noticed Diller “acting erratically while holding the open container,” according to SDPD.

smart streetlight footage SDPD

In the video, SDPD Officers Devion Johnson and Benjamin Downing pull over on a nearby frontage road near Diller for an enforcement stop and exit the vehicle. One of the officers shouts, “Hold up. Stop. Stop. Police!” as Diller runs away into traffic lanes of 54th Street.

Police said they chased him into traffic lanes and back across the highway to the frontage road as shown below.

body cam sdpd

As Downing emerges through some bushes, his body camera footage shows Johnson struggling with Diller on the ground in the middle of the street.

The officers order Diller to remain on the ground and Diller continues to struggle with them, police said.

Soon after, Downing tells Johnson that the suspect has Downing's gun.

Police later reported Diller began pulling at Downing's service weapon and ended up ripping the gun and holster off of his belt.

“Shoot him,” Downing tells Johnson in the video.

Officer Johnson fired one round from his gun, SDPD confirmed.

Downing can be heard saying, "Get medics started. Suspect has one gunshot wound to the head."

body cam sdpd oak park

In the video, while both officers appear to stand up, Diller moves after being shot. The officers continue trying to handcuff his hands together behind his back while calling for medics.

Diller was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Downing is a 5-year veteran officer and Johnson is a 2-year veteran officer, police said. Neither of the officers were injured in the incident.

Police Chief David Nisleit said the department is making the footage public in an effort to be more "open and transparent."

Click here to watch the full video released by the San Diego Police Department. Warning: the video contains graphic imagery and profanity that some viewers may find disturbing.

NBC 7's Dave Summers heard from witnesses about the moments leading up to the shooting.

Diller's family members said it doesn't make sense a person they care for was killed over an open container of alcohol.

Mark Blechinger, Diller's legal guardian, said the incident is an example of flawed police practice.

"If you don't do exactly what they say when they tell you to do it, you're public enemy number one, and they'll take you down," Blechinger said. "They just look for an excuse to put their hands on you."

Blechinger said Diller was no stranger to mistakes, but said that's not enough of a reason to justify the level of force responding officers used.

"Even though Toby was, again, not an upstanding citizen, you can't justify taking someone's life over an open container," he said.

Newly released footage showed the chase and struggle that led to a deadly officer-involved shooting in Oak Park. NBC 7's Mari Payton reports.

Immediately after the shooting, Diller's family and an Oak Park community leader were demanding answers.

"I love Toby the most. I never wanted to give up on him. I love Toby very, very much," sister Nikita Diller said previously. "I'm concerned. I'm grieving. I just miss my brother."

Community members told NBC 7 that Toby Diller spent much of his time in the Oak Park neighborhood and was friendly with people even if they didn't know his name.

A GoFundMe was created for the Diller family, and a March for Justice is scheduled for March 7 at the City Heights Performance Annex.

Contact Us