Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer will not criminally charge Sheriff’s Deputy Eduardo Duran for shooting and killing Kurt Andras Reinhold, a homeless Black man who deputies stopped in 2020 after he walked into a San Clemente street with a red hand signal.
That’s the conclusion of Assistant District Stephen McGreevy in a charging decision dated Feb. 7 and released just before the weekend, four days later, on Feb. 11.
Voice of OC asked the District Attorney’s office last November about how long the investigation was taking into the incident, which at that point had occurred more than a year prior, in 2020.
That September, Duran and his partner at the time, Sheriff’s Deputy Jonathan Israel, confronted Reinhold on El Camino Real, along San Clemente’s downtown district.
At the time, DA officials note in their report that both deputies were tasked with homeless outreach in the area and had received the department’s much-publicized “homeless liaison officer” training.
Their training, according to the DA report, included “crisis avoidance” and “dealing with individuals with mental health and drug issues.”
Both deputies had successfully completed the Anaheim Police Department’s 40-hour crisis intervention training, which according to the DA report, “included in this training at the Anaheim Police Department’s 60 minute session on dealing with the homeless population.”
Course presenters in Anaheim “discussed the importance of trying to ‘de-escalate’ situations with homeless people in the field. These tactics include but are not limited to using non-threatening language, providing space between the officers and the homeless person, not using foul language, offering services and having single officer try and gain a rapport with the individual.”Assistant District Attorney Stephen McGreevy
“The main goal of the HLO is outreach and getting homeless individuals services versus arrest,” the report reads.
Yet for Reinhold, the Sheriff’s Dept.’s outreach that day featured two deputies wearing bulletproof vests and gun belts and resulted in a confrontation that ended with two bullets lodged in his chest.
In their Friday afternoon report – required by law whenever there’s an officer-involved shooting – DA officials put a more detailed narrative about Reinhold’s killing into official writing.
The report focuses on the tactical issues that arose that afternoon in determining whether or not Duran’s actions rose to criminal conduct.
In a Feb. 7 charging decision, Assistant District Attorney Stephen McGreevy wrote that Duran’s actions do not constitute criminal conduct, and argued that Duran had reason to believe Reinhold grabbed his partner Israel’s gun during the conflict.
In the report, McGreevy concluded, “It is clear that Deputy Duran was justified in believing Reinhold posed a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to his partner, himself and the surrounding civilians.”
The Sept. 23, 2020 confrontation began with deputies spotting Reinhold from across the street, with Israel indicating they should stop him, prompting his partner Duran to warn him, “don’t make case law.”
As deputies pulled up to Reinhold, he ignored their orders to stop and continued walking, insisting he hadn’t broken the law by jaywalking, visibly irritated at being detained.
The DA report indicated he had not, in fact, jaywalked, but that he violated a vehicle code regarding crossing during a red hand signal.
The report also said this was not the deputies’ first encounter with Reinhold.
The night before Reinhold’s death, Duran and two other deputies encountered Reinhold at the Ole Hanson Pool Center off Pacific Coast Highway, according to the report which alleges the deputies tried to connect Reinhold with services but he “ignored” them. The report states the deputies couldn’t do anything because the facility did not have a “no trespassing letter.”
When Duran and Israel stopped Reinhold the next day, it quickly escalated into a physical fight after Reinhold refused to stop for officers. Duran then grabbed Reinhold’s backpack and both officers took him to the ground.
According to the report, the struggle ended with Duran firing his gun twice into Reinhold’s upper chest after his partner screamed that Reinhold got his gun.
The report states that in different instances during the struggle, deputies felt their gun belts rattle or felt Reinhold reaching for their gun. The report also states that Israel yelled out that Reinhold “got” his gun on several occasions.
Reinhold, according to the report, also said “I’m gonna get it” during the struggle.
McGreevy’s report states on Page 9 that Duran fired one shot into Reinhold after hearing Israel yell “He’s got my gun!”
McGreevy later wrote on Page 10 of the report that Israel, “after the first shot,” still felt Reinhold “continue his attempts at getting his gun.”
The report states that Israel then yelled, “He’s still got my gun, shoot him again!”
McGreevy wrote that surveillance footage from the location of Reinhold’s death – the Hotel Miramar – “clearly showed Reinhold not only reaching for deputy Israel’s gun, but eventually grabbing a hold of Deputy Israel’s gun.”
The hotel video, which the District Attorney’s office posted to YouTube the same day the report was released, pauses the blurry frames to specifically point out Reinhold’s hand going in the direction of a deputy’s gun – but does not pause any frames to point out Reinhold gaining possession of it.
Voice of OC sought clarification on how Spitzer’s office determined whether Reinhold actually got control of Israel’s gun after Israel said so during the struggle.
Spitzer, in a Friday text message, responded by referring to Reinhold’s DNA being found on the gun after “two separate lab tests,” which Spitzer said included an “independent lab” outside the Sheriff’s lab.
“The gun never left the holster because the deputy was able to retain it in the holster while they were struggling but his DNA is on the gun which proves he was grabbing the gun,” Spitzer wrote in the text message.
When asked by Voice of OC whether DA officials were able to actually confirm that Reinhold had possession of the gun, Spitzer replied, “I have a real problem with your words get control of it hes (Reinhold) trying to pull it out of the holster.”
In the DA report, McGreevy wrote that, during deputies’ fight with Reinhold, Israel felt his gun belt “being pulled” and then heard the “rattling of his gun in its holster (service weapon was on the right side of his body).”
Israel later “felt Reinhold’s left hand on the grip of his pistol and was pulling it,” McGreevy wrote.
Israel shouted to Duran, “He’s got my gun!” repeatedly, McGreevy wrote, adding that deputies then heard Reinhold say “I’m gonna get it.”
While Duran held onto Reinhold’s legs, McGreevy wrote that he heard Israel “‘frantically scream’ he’s got my gun at least 3 times.”
“Upon hearing this, Deputy Duran fearing for the life of his partner and himself, Deputy Duran took out his gun and pressed into ribs [sic] of Reinhold,” McGreevy wrote.
Reinhold’s family in a Friday statement said, “While disappointed in the decision, the family is not at all surprised by this rubber stamp from the District Attorney’s Office.”
The District Attorney handles investigations of officer-involved shootings for police agencies in Orange County.
“The DA’s office works hand in hand with deputies from the Sheriff’s Department on a daily basis, and as such their reviews of deputy shootings can hardly be considered ‘independent,’” reads the family statement.
“In order for these determinations to have any credibility, they must be conducted by truly independent agencies who do not rely on the Sheriff’s Department and its deputies for successful prosecution of their criminal cases,” reads the family statement.
Reinhold’s family in late 2020 filed a lawsuit against the Orange County Sheriff’s Dept.
“This was a racially motivated stop aimed at harassing Mr. Reinhold, nothing more. The deputies’ escalating tactics – including having a Taser drawn and tackling Mr. Reinhold to the ground – directly contributed to the deputies’ unlawful use of deadly force against a man who was unarmed and had not committed a crime,” reads the family’s statement.