A Bakersfield police officer who shot a 73-year-old man to death in December has been cleared by a review board, which cited the officer’s actions were justifiable.
During a news conference, Bakersfield Police Department Chief Lyle Martin said that Officer Reagan Selman acted within department policy and state and federal guideline when Sellman shot and killed Francisco Serna on Dec.12, 2016 in the 7900 block of Silver Birch Avenue.
“Mister Serna continued towards Officer Selman, ignoring commands to stop walking and remove his hands from his jacket,” said Martin, adding that Selman was in a position where he was cornered by Serna.
Police were initially called to the home when someone reported a man with a gun in the neighborhood. Serna was seen walking with his hands in his pockets outside of his home, and repeatedly failed to comply with the police officer’s orders.
Martin said when Serna approached within 15-feet of Selman, that the officer fired his weapon, hitting Serna five times. Serna died at the scene. The incident set off outrage amoung Serna’s family and neighbors in the community. Serna, a grandfather and great grandfather, was found to be unarmed and was diagnosed with dementia.
Martin said that the information about the shooting, along with the review board’s findings, have been turned over to the Kern County District Attorney’s office, state officials, and he reminded the crowd at the press conference that the Federal Bureau of Investigations to investigate the matter.
Selman will be returning to work, officials said.