Man fatally shot by Chinese policeman ‘attacked officer with baton’, new video shows
China’s main state broadcaster released security camera footage today showing that a man who was fatally shot by a policeman at a train station behaved aggressively and attacked the officer with a long baton before he opened fire.
The footage released on China Central Television gives a fuller picture of the scuffles leading up to the May 2 shooting of Xu Chunhe in the northeastern town of Qingan, some of which had circulated online from a bystander’s video clip.
Watch: Latest CCTV footage captures Xu Chunhe's confrontation with police
The incident drew a public outcry over concerns that the policeman used excessive force, and release of the security footage appeared aimed at countering sympathetic portrayals of the man as being attacked by police unprovoked.
Provincial police said that Li Lebin, the police officer involved in the shooting, had given Xu “multiple warnings” before opening fire and that his use of weapon was "correct and legitimate".
A lawyer for Xu’s family, Xie Yanyi, said that the video did not reveal the full extent of Li’s beating of Xu, and that the circumstances immediately before the shooting remained “unclear”.
“We still see this as a case of suspected intentional homicide, and will pursue legal means to protect our client’s interests,” he said.
The edited security footage shows the 45-year-old man punching the officer in the head and later wrestling away the 2-metre-long baton the officer used to try to subdue him and then using it to attack the officer.
At one point, while the officer is trying to hit the man with the baton, the man picks up his small daughter and holds her in front of himself before hurling her down onto the train station’s paved floor.
Li, in an interview with CCTV, said the man was hitting him in the head and in his shooting hand. He said he had no choice but to aim his fire at the man because it was a crowded train station where a stray bullet might otherwise have injured a bystander.
Xu had a long-running dispute with local officials and Xie said authorities were probably trying to prevent him from travelling to lodge complaints at higher levels.
The practice, known as “interception,” is common in China but has met with increasing criticism. Several Chinese media outlets speculated that police had used excessive force against Xu.
Regular police in major Chinese cities began patrolling with guns for the first time last year in response to a deadly mass knifing blamed on separatists from the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
But incidents of police shooting innocent people have raised concerns over the policy.
A drunken officer shot dead a pregnant woman and injured her husband in 2013 after being told there was no “milk tea” in her restaurant. The officer was sentenced to death and executed last year.