Because California has one of the strictest laws in the nation when it comes to when details on officer discipline must be made public, civil lawsuits like the one filed against San Diego Police Officer Browder represent the rare instance when the public can see how – or if – the department is punishing or otherwise addressing officer behavior.
Documents in the civil case against San Diego Police Officer Neal Browder reveal how the city disciplined him and evaluated his performance after shooting and killing an unarmed, mentally ill man last year: not at all.
In a sworn deposition in the civil case brought by Fridoon Rawshan Nehad’s family, obtained by Voice of San Diego, Browder said he did not face any discipline from the shooting. He was put on administrative duty – working at a desk instead of on patrol – for a few weeks, but was back on patrol within a month of the shooting, Browder said in the deposition.
He did not undergo any additional training or receive any written reprimand. None of his supervisors told him he had made any tactical mistakes. It didn’t even come up in his performance review for that year.
San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis declined to prosecute Browder last year, saying he was justified in fearing for his life at the time he shot Nehad, 42.
Dumanis’ decision not to prosecute was unsurprising: Prosecutors face a high bar for charging officers who shoot in the line of duty, and Browder had been back on duty for months by the time Dumanis made her decision. He was back on patrol within a few weeks of the shooting, according to his deposition.