San Diego

SDCCD Officer Back On Duty After Investigation of Incident with Photographer

A San Diego Community College District police officer shown on video pointing his gun at a photographer returned to active duty after an investigation into the incident was completed, the district confirmed Tuesday.

The district completed its investigation in mi-July and "took appropriate action consistent with the findings," district spokesperson Jack Beresford said.

Beresford said the investigation was a confidential personnel matter and further details would not be discussed.

The officer was placed on administrative leave in May after a video posted on social media showed him pointing his gun at a photographer on Armstrong Place about a block from the Mesa College's campus in Clairemont Mesa.

The video showed the photographer approaching a police vehicle and an officer who had pulled over a driver.

The officer, identified as James Everette, sees the photographer and asks what he’s filming for.

In addition to a regular video camera, the photographer has a GoPro camera attached to the camera. The officer tells the photographer he doesn’t know what that camera is. He orders the photographer to put the camera down.

When the photographer refuses, the officer puts his hand on his holster.

The photographer is then heard shouting at the officer, telling him to take his hand off his holster.

The photographer then puts the GoPro on the ground, but refuses to put down his main camera. The officer then points his weapon toward the photographer for about 20 seconds.

A few seconds later, a backup officer arrives, then a Sergeant, who eventually returns the GoPro and attempts to de-escalate the confrontation.

The recorded portion of the confrontation lasts almost 9 minutes.

The San Diego Community College District released this statement in response to the incident:

"Video has circulated of an incident involving a San Diego Community College District Police Officer which took place during a traffic stop near San Diego Mesa College on May 16. The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation. The SDCCD takes any incident like this very seriously. We will not comment on the incident until that internal investigation is concluded."

The district website shows in 2015, Everette received an award for subduing a violent suspect. The officer suffered a broken leg in the incident.

NBC 7 could not confirm the identity of the photographer and could not obtain permission to use the video. It is posted on YouTube at this link. 

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