The city of San Diego has to release body camera footage from body camera footage taken during a mental health check by Trevor Heitmann, the 18-year-old YouTube star, who raced away in his sports car hours later and killed mother and daughter Aileen Pizarro. 43 and her 12-year-old daughter Aryana in a fiery August 23, 2018, car accident on Interstate 805.
However, the video parts decided by Supreme Court Justice Ronald Styn are edited to hide the faces of the officials involved to protect the three officers who arrived at Heitmann's parents' house that morning after his Family had called to report that Heitmann was in a mental break during the crisis.
The city of San Diego will publish these videos to lawyers on August 7, 2020.
The Pizarro family's lawyers hope to be able to show these police officers when the body camera is released that they have seen no clear signs that Heitmann was at risk for themselves and others.
On the morning of August 23, 2018, police logs obtained from NBC 7 Investigates revealed that Heitmann, known by his YouTube name "McSkillet", was said to be "screaming, paranoid and delusional" and "threatening to harm his mother". in the house of the Heitmann family in the Carmel Valley.
Heitmann's neighbors and psychiatrists made the police aware of the danger to Heitmann's mental state, as the Pizarro and Heitmann families claimed, and told the police that Heitmann was a danger to themselves and others.
Despite his family's request and against his psychiatrist's advice, police records show that unrated officials went to the Heitmann Residence to interview the 18-year-old. However, their cameras, worn on their bodies, recorded the entire encounter.
Both the Pizarro family and the Heitmann family sued the city of San Diego for negligence. They alleged that the officers did not heed the warnings from his family and psychiatrist and did not interview Heitmann to assess his condition.
Attorney Cynthia Chihak represents the Pizarro family in their attempt to hold San Diego police officers accountable for what they told NBC 7 during an interview on June 22 because Heitmann had failed to obtain adequate medical care, which he needed to prevent the death of her client's loved ones.
According to a May 2019 study by the Treatment Advocacy Center, police officers were at the forefront of the country's mental health crisis. The report found that police officers spend valuable resources, on average 10% of the police department's budget, to respond to and transport people with mental health problems. According to the study, officials drove an estimated 5,424,212 miles in 2017 to “transport people with severe mental illness in 2017”.
However, in Heitmann's case, the policemen failed to take on the task, and according to Chihak, they called the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) hours after the first call to 911 to try to intervene.
The city of San Diego submitted a request for protection in hopes of hiding the footage from publication.
"People can follow them home, they can molest them and their families, it's just not safe when you consider what's going on in the country," argued Deputy City Attorney Stacey Plotkin-Wolf.
Judge Styn agreed that the official's faces should be hidden, and at the same time stated that the records were vital to the lawsuit.
"It seems to me that all audio parts are A; not privileged and B; very relevant, ”said Styn during his decision. "But I think the audio is critical."
The city of San Diego not only requested that the body camera be kept confidential, but also asked Judge Styn to instruct Pizarro's family lawyer Chihak, Chihak's testimony to NBC 7 Investigates about the city's attempt to release the videos from that day seal, withdraw.
"I have no authority to do that," said Styn.
In response to the judge's decision, Chihak said the videos are important to show that "the city was required to rate Heitmann and had all the information to know that he was a danger."
NBC 7 turned to the prosecutor to respond to the verdict. A spokesman for the office did not respond to our request in time for publication.
The article will be updated if this is the case.