The man who was shot and killed by a California police officer in front to his girlfriend in front a Starbucks was a member of a vigilante group known as the Caveman Lawyers, according to a report released Tuesday.
“He was an attorney, and his job was to take people to court when the police could not,” said his sister, who asked that her surname not be used.
“It’s a way for people to show their solidarity.”
Police said they responded to a 911 call from the woman who reported a man who had been standing outside a Starbucks with a gun on her neck.
“The officer saw a man with a pistol pointed at his face,” according to the police report.
“Upon closer inspection, the officer noticed a small, black handgun protruding from the back of the man’s waistband,” the report said.
“At this point, he discharged his handgun in self-defense.”
The man’s girlfriend, also a Caveman lawyer and a woman with a concealed carry permit, fled the scene and reported the shooting.
She told police that the man who fired the fatal shot had been “trying to make an arrest”.
“The Caveman attorney responded to the scene to assist the officer,” the police reported.
“During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the Cavemans actions were in the interest of the public,” the statement from the California Highway Patrol said.
Officers were not wearing body cameras and were not conducting body-worn camera footage of the incident, the agency said.
But they did record the shots of the gun.
The police department said the officer had “no prior history of use of deadly force or complaints” and that the officer used “reasonable force” in using lethal force.
The Caveman lawyers released a statement Tuesday saying the shooting was “a tragic reminder that we must be vigilant in our pursuit of justice”.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and his family at this time,” the group said.
The group has been active since 2013, when the group formed to fight police brutality.
The San Francisco-based group was formed after the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, where the police officer who killed him was white.
“A number of Caveman attorneys have been active in support of justice, and have engaged in peaceful protests, including at a rally in support at the end of the summer in Sacramento, California,” the Cavemen statement said.
After the incident last week, the police department put the Cavemans death on its website.
It did not say what charges it was considering.
“There are no charges pending at this point,” the website said.