CHICAGO (CBS) — A southwest suburban mom says police in Utah didn’t need to kill her son. Officers say the man was a threat, even though he was in handcuffs.
The video escalates in just seconds. The August shooting by police in Utah is still too painful for Chad Breinholt’s mom to watch, but she knows what it shows and that’s why she’s talking and telling her son’s side of the story.
“It’s important for me that Chad isn’t remembered for the final moments of his death,” his mother Susan Neese said.
Chad Breinholt’s last moments are recorded on West Valley City, Utah police body camera video.
“Yes, he had some struggles, but there’s a bigger story,” Neese said. “Chad would not have hurt anybody.”
Chad’s mom lives in the southwest suburbs.
“He was musically gifted and talented in the guitar and the piano,” Neese said.
Music, she says, helped chad cope with his substance abuse battle.
The bodycam video begins routinely.
Chad is seen handcuffed inside a DUI processing room. He was picked up for suspicion of DUI and creating a disturbance at his girlfriend’s workplace.
Chad tells the officers he has a gun in his shoe. Suddenly a scuffle begins.
An officer can be heard saying, “You’re about to die, my friend,” before a shot rings out.
Neese struggles with these last moments: “To hear those words exclaimed to him seconds, just a split second before he died, those were the last words that he ever heard: ‘You’re about to die my friend.’”
In a cramped room, handcuffed behind his back, surrounded by officers, a single shot killed Chad.
Police say they were in danger when Chad grabbed the handle of an officer’s gun.
“No, I don’t believe he was a threat to the officers, Chad was not a violent person. He did not have a violent criminal history,” Neese said.
The memories Neese has of her boy include a devoted brother and talented musician.
More vivid and telling, she says, than the chaotic fleeting moments captured on camera.
“I am completely surprised that it escalated to the level of extreme force that they felt was necessary,” Neese said.
Breinholt’s mom is also raising potential concerns over the investigation as it is being handled by a neighboring police department