In the video, a semi-circle of police officers surround a man backed up against the wall of a building. When he starts to walk away from them, a volley of shots ring out.
The footage, which appears to have been filmed by a passenger on a bus next to the scene, was posted to Instagram Wednesday night and quickly lit up the internet. But San Francisco police say the man had a knife and that they first fired beanbags and shot the ground in front of him with another less lethal weapon.
“We have since recovered or found some video, they appear to show the officers encircle him and they appear to show the suspect moving toward the officer before the shots were fired,” Police Chief Greg Suhr told the San Francisco Examiner. The police say the man was in the same area where someone got stabbed about 45 minutes earlier.
The man’s identity has not been released yet.
San Francisco police have been involved in a number of controversial shootings, including one high-profile case in October where they shot and killed a man who was throwing bottles at cars. Wednesday’s shooting occurred as the San Francisco Police Commission discussed and approved a draft policy to prevent officers from reviewing body camera footage before they submit incident reports.
Several San Francisco police officers were also forced to resign earlier this year after a slew of their racist and homophobic text messages were uncovered as part of a criminal probe of a police lieutenant.
Watch the video below (warning: graphic violence):