Oakland Police Shoot Fleeing Person

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On Wednesday, May 29th, 2013 at around 1:40 p.m. Oakland Police began a vehicle pursuit in East Oakland of a car containing three occupants. The chase initially began with one patrol vehicle, but over the span of the next ten minutes many more units would be deployed to create a perimeter and box the car in. At one point an Officer requested but was denied permission to use a PIT, which is a maneuver in which the police car hits the rear end of the car being chased. The impact is intended to make the driver to loose control of the vehicle.

After a while, the three occupants bailed from the car. Two were detained while another person ran eastbound on Bancroft and was shot within seconds by either a chasing officer, or one that was coming to cut him off.

Police say a loaded gun was recovered, but it is not clear how the man shot posed a threat to officers.

From police and witness’s accounts, the man was fleeing the police.

Witnesses on the scene claim the man didn’t pose a threat. One even held a sign that read. Stop killing our People. . . . The man died from his wounds.

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No Criminal Charges for OPD Officer (Patrick Gonzales)

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Written by Ali Winston REPOST from The Investigative Fund dot Org

Five years and seven months after Gary King Jr. was shot to death by Oakland Police Sergeant Patrick Gonzales on 54th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, the Alameda County District Attorney has cleared Sgt. Gonzales of criminal misconduct in King Jr.’s death. On September 20, 2007 Gonzales mistook the 20-year-old exiting a store on the street corner for a murder-robbery suspect, and the ensuing confrontation left the young man with two gunshot wounds in his back, handcuffed, and bleeding to death.

The DA’s findings puts paid to the possibility that Sgt. Gonzales could face state criminal charges for King Jr.’s shooting.

Over the years, Sgt. Gonzales has become a lightning rod for critics of the troubled Oakland Police Department, which is struggling to fulfill federal reforms begun a decade ago. Since joining OPD in the late 1990s, Gonzales has featured in some of OPD’s most controversial moments, from a police assault on unarmed protesters opposing the Iraq War in 2003 and the shooting of cop-killing parolee Lovelle Mixon to the department’s violent response to Occupy Oakland. He has been involved in four officer-involved shootings over the years, and the city has paid out $3.6 million to date in legal settlements for incidents in which Gonzales played a part.

The eleven-page findings letter — which is issued by district attorneys when they find that an officer-involved shooting did not constitute criminal conduct — is dated April 17th. It was authored by Senior Deputy DA Jeff Stark (the son of former East Bay Congressman Pete Stark) and Lieutenant Mark Scarlett of the DA’s investigations unit. The DA’s letter indicates that when Gonzales attempted to detain King “he resisted,” and that during the ensuing struggle Gonzales tasered King twice “to no effect.” The report claims that King Jr. “then reached into his pant’s pocket” and when Gonzales reached down to grab his hand, he “felt a gun.”

The DA’s report states that at this point, King Jr. broke away from Gonzales, who drew his pistol and ordered the youth to get on the ground. The report continues: “Mr. King, still reaching for his gun, turned away from Sergeant Gonzales. He believed Mr. King posed an immediate, life-threatening danger to himself and other people in the immediate area. He fired two shots from his pistol at Mr. King from within 10 feet,” fatally wounding King Jr.

As I reported in the joint Colorlines-Investigative Fund project, “Deadly Secrets,” a revolver was found at the scene. The DA’s report states that the .32 caliber pistol was loaded, that “every detail in Sergeant Gonzales’ statement was corroborated by witnesses and by the liquor store’s video,” and that an OPD criminologist determined the revolver was in “normal working order.” However, in 2011, I reported that OPD told me that King Jr.’s revolver was broken. This was corroborated by Michael Haddad, the attorney who filed a successful $1.5 million wrongful death suit on behalf of King’s family. The liquor store video, which I reviewed, showed King Jr. fleeing towards the intersection, appearing to hold up his baggy pants by the waist.

During the struggle, the DA’s report notes that King Jr. repeatedly reached for his pants, interpreting this as the youth “attempting…to get the loaded gun out of his pants.” However, no witnesses ever saw King Jr. draw the gun.

Gary King Jr.’s father said the Alameda District Attorney’s findings were “outrageous and an insult to my family and my community.” Clearing Gonzales’ conduct, King Sr. said, “is a direct result of them dropping the ball, from the City Council and the Mayor on down;” he believes that the Alameda DA want his son’s case “to go under the rug and for people to forget about this.”

In writing the King Jr. letter, Stark also reviewed Gonzales’ prior shootings: the death of Joshua Russell, a robbery suspect armed with a shotgun who Gonzales and another officer shot to death in 2002, and the non-fatal shooting of teenager Ameir Rollins in 2006 that left Rollins a quadriplegic. The DA’s report claims that Rollins pointed a rifle at Gonzales and his partner, and that Gonzales shot Rollins twice, in the arm and the neck. But rather than conducting an independent investigation, the DA’s report relied on a previously confidential police report; the DA also neglected to review medical records or interview Rollins. When I spoke with Rollins in a January 2011 interview, he told me that Gonzales fired just one shot after Rollins had dropped the rifle and raised his hands, which struck him first in the wrist and then in the neck. Rollins settled a civil rights lawsuit against Gonzales and the OPD for $100,000.

A review of 22 findings letters by the Alameda DA’s office over a ten-year period indicates the King Jr. report is one of only four letters that have taken this long — more than four years — to complete. The discrepancies between the DA’s account of the Ameir Rollins shooting and Rollins’ own recollections, the reliance on OPD’s own documentation and investigation of the incident and half a decade of lag time before clearing Sgt. Gonzales all call into question the veracity of the DA’s findings letter.

“I’m sure I had it completed beforehand,” said Stark, when asked about the lag between the original shooting and the date when his report was forwarded to OPD Police Chief Howard Jordan on April 17.


FOR MORE WECOPWATCH COVERAGE of Patrick Gonzales go to last weeks WECOWATCH writeup

Mayor Quan Drags Off Aggressive Husband

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by Mohammed Harun Arsalai

In recent years, Oakland has seen an accelerated gentrification process occurring. City Hall and law enforcement operations are both engaged in the dirty work that comes along with these processes. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen collaboration between the police and the FBI. We’ve seen 300 officers and 200 Feds zooming up and down the streets like an occupying army. They only came up with five arrests and a few guns. Another FBI-OPD raid occurred on First Friday. If one takes a deeper look, it doesn’t take long to see that the neighborhoods with the fastest rates of gentrification are the same as those that fall within the borders of Oakland’s gang injunctions. There are zero degrees of separation between the mayor’s office, city council, policing policies and the Business Improvement Districts of gentrification. Written by Mohammed Harun Arsalai

Patrick Gonzales And The Killing of Gary King

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Articulating “An Officer’s Fear of Imminent Danger” Justifies Police Murder

WeCopwatch Conducts “The Shortest Interview” with Patrick Gonzales

On September 20th, 2007, Oakland Police Officer Patrick Gonzales shot and killed 20 year old Gary King after Gonzales stopped King because he claimed that King matched the description of a Murder Suspect from an incident some time back. What has always been known is that Gary King was shot in the back as he ran for his life (see Ali Winston’s DEADLY SECRETS)

Video by Thomas Peele and Karl Mondon

But in an article released by Thomas Peele called OAKLAND POLICE: Too Quick To Fire, newly released documents show holes in Gonzales’s version of what happened. While Police generally can murder someone if they articulate that they were in fear for their life, interviews with other police who were on scene offer a different account.

1. If Gonzales could prove he was in fear for his life, it would be considered justified like most Officer Involved Shootings in Oakland.

2. But if Gonzales was in fear for his safety and the safety of others, why did he not alert other responding officers that King had an alleged weapon on him.

3. Conclusion. It doesn’t make sense that an officer shoots someone they claim are armed, don’t disarm them, and then don’t inform fellow officers of the gun and it’s whereabouts.

DA Report on the killing of Gary King by Patrick Gonzales

2012-10-02 OIS Redacted Report

Snatch Squads 2012! 1 Year after Oakland Police attack May Day Demonstration

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On May Day 2012, demonstrators from across the bay area converged in Downtown Oakland to participate in the annual May Day General Strike.

While the day began with spirited marches that snaked throughout downtown, Oakland Police would inevitably intervene by toppling over a female bicycle rider and arresting her. From there Oakland Police would pull multiple people from out of the crowd, taking them to the ground and arresting them.

Video Shot by Jacob Crawford

In the midst of the chaos, members of Oakland Police’s TANGO unit (a group designated to shoot projectiles and use gas against demonstrators) would throw flash bang grenades into groups of people and Tased at least one person (see post)
One thing that is important to note is that responsibility for the deployment of gas falls not only on the officers in control of the weapons, but their supervisors.

Note in this video shot by Simon Sedillo you can see LT Hamilton instructing TANGO Officer Mike Beaver where to throw a flash bang grenade.

Video by Simon Sedillo

In another incident of poor top down instructions, In 2011, Captain Ersie Joyner was reassigned after being accused of giving poor instructions to Victor Garcia regarding when to shoot protesters during the November 2nd General Strike. A young man by the name of Scott Campbell would be one of many people shot and gassed that evening due to poor decision making on Oakland Police’s part.

Video of Scott Campbell getting shot. Taken by Scott Campbell

WeCopwatch on KPFA Speaking on Recent FBI Raids

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(Interview by Ann Garrison) WeCopwatch checks in with KPFA on recent FBI/OPD Raids on the Acorn Projects. While many people have chimed in that this type of Martial Law is what we can come to expect in the future, these type of raids occur in Oakland all the time.

KPFA Interview

For more about the FBI/OPD Raids click here

For a unfinished map of Botched Paramilitary Raids in America check here

(Thank you Ann Garrison for the interview, and to KPFA “Bring JR Valrey back!”)

The Feds Are In Town (Multiple Raids Occur in Oakland)

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On April 24th, 2013, scores of Federal Agents alongside the Oakland Police, California Highway Patrol, and other law enforcement agencies descended upon the Acorn Projects in West Oakland, executing multiple simultaneous raids. According to ABC 7, residents along with main stream media outlets were given no immediate explanation for the raids. At 1:am OPD released a press release stating that they had participated in hi risk weapons and narcotics warrants search warrants.

Twitter Reactions to FBI Raids