Homeless Man Shot by SFPD Was Trying to Get Help

By Chris Roberts
|  Thursday, Oct 13, 2011  |  Updated 8:38 AM PDT
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Homeless Man Shot by SFPD Was Trying to Get Help

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The homeless man in a wheelchair who was shot by SFPD was only trying to get help, his defense attorneys said.

He was only trying to get help. In his own way.

The homeless man in a wheelchair who was shot by San Francisco police officers was trying to provoke police into bringing him into custody so that he could get treatment, according to the man's defense attorney.

"He decided to commit a minor crime to get into jail," said attorney Danielle Harris, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. Harris is representing Randal Dunklin, 55, who was shot Jan. 4 near a public building in South of Market, according to the newspaper. The exchange -- including cops firing twice at the wheelchair user -- was caught on video.

Dunklin was in a rage because he'd been told by Department of Public Health workers that he would have to return the next day for a health appointment.

He stabbed the tires of a city-owned car with a pocket knife and finally attracted the attention of police. One uniformed cop ignored him, but four plainclothes cops "surrounded the man," according to the newspaper.

Dunklin wheeled his chair onto the street while shouting at cops before he was pepper-sprayed. He lunged at one officer and stabbed him in the shoulder before he was shot twice in the groin.

He was told 50 times to drop the knife before he was shot, according to prosecutors. The trial continues next week.

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