UPDATE on Officer Involved Shooting in Oakland

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This week WeCopwatch reported on a fatal Officer Involved Shooting that took place on May 29th in East Oakland. See article Oakland Police Shoot Fleeing Suspect

Police say they tried to pull over a car and when it wouldn’t pull over, began a chase that would last over ten minutes and would end with a man shot to death by an Oakland Police Officer.

Police like all people are allowed to defend themselves when they are or someone else is in danger. In this case, police say that the man was armed with a loaded handgun when he was fatally shot.

Many people in Oakland carry guns, some illegally. Some argue that conditions are so bad in Oakland, that people have to take security into their own hands.

Ali Winston recently reported in Getting Away With Murder that Oakland Police only solve about 25 percent of the murders that take place each year in Oakland.

With those statistics in mind, WeCopwatch understands that this man may have been armed, but it still curious as to how it actually came to be that this man was shot.

He was running when he was shot, that much police and witnesses agree on. But how did he pose a direct threat to officers? Even with a loaded handgun. There are no reports that the man pulled, aimed, or discharged a weapon.

WeCopwatch asked Oakland Police’s Media Relations a few questions. . .

1. How many times was the man shot?
2. Was he shot in the front or in the back?
3. There are reports of a loaded gun being located.  Was it located at Ritchie Street with the person shot?
4. Was the loaded firearm the only weapon recovered?

This was the Media Relation’s response.

At this time, we are not releasing this level of information due to the
ongoing investigation, but these questions are understandable and will
be addressed as soon as practical.  The Coroner’s report, once approved
for release and coupled with our investigation, will document
circumstances related to questions #1 and #2.  Regarding questions #3
and #4, we preliminarily released information about one firearm
recovered from the scene, and that remains accurate. The “scene” was
meant to denote the immediate scene of the shooting on Ritchie.

As we have discussed before, we are committed to sharing as much
information as possible; however, we are also obligated to conduct a
sound and thorough investigation.  While some may consider the lack of
detail at this point as secretive or opaque, they must consider that
releasing information before all investigative steps have been completed
may very well jeopardize the investigation itself.  Given this concern,
and in the interest of transparency, we will release additional
information and documentation as soon as practical via formal statement
or press release.

While these answers don’t reveal much as too what happened in the moments before the shooting, all responding Oakland Police Officers should have had their PDRDs (Police Data Recording Device) activated, so everything should be on video, including the actual shooting. Will documentation show that this man tried to pull out or fire a handgun at Officers?

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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

Patrick Gonzales And The Killing of Gary King

Ex14 Oakland PD-0017

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

Map Of Oakland Police Shootings (Connecting the Dots)


The Bay Citizen just released a map of all Oakland Officer Involved Shootings from 2000-2011. Note how many of these shootings were done by a small group of Officers.

For more info about multiple police shooters in Oakland look no further than some of  Ali Winston’s reporting

Deadly Secrets

OPD Used Violent Cops Against Occupy

Click on Map to find out more about these shootings.

Downloadable PDF of OPD’s Officer Involved Shootings from 2000-2011

Oakland Police Department Shootings 2000 to 2011

Oakland Officer Involved Shooting Is Kept Off The Radio

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On April 5th, 2013, Oakland police were notified of an alleged burglary in progress in West Oakland, California.

While information about the incident is still emerging, OPD has stated that one of the suspects was carrying a fake gun and did not know police were setting up a perimeter around the house. He was subsequently shot in the shoulder by an officer as he attempted to leave the area.

This is the 2nd OPD officer-involved shooting this week. On the evening of April 3rd, an Oakland officer shot an innocent teenager in the face while investigating an armed robbery in downtown Oakland. The teenager’s jaw and cheek were grazed, but his injuries are not considered life-threatening. OPD has since stated that the minor and his friends were not involved in a crime. Click here to see more about the April 3rd shooting 

Police officers have the right to defend themselves, just like anybody else. However, it will be interesting to see if the suspect shot today posed any threat to the officers. If he didn’t aim the gun at anyone, OPD’s standard procedure is to order the person to drop the weapon and to submit to arresting officers.

Fortunately, video of the incident will ultimately reveal what, if any, threat the suspect posed. All Oakland police are required to wear and activate their PDRD video cameras during police stops. If the officers involved in today’s shooting were following PDRD procedure, their cameras should have been rolling.

One thing that should raise alarm is the fact that OPD were advised to keep any mention of the shooting off the radio. (Watch the final moments of the featured video.)

This silence may be because the Oakland Police Department, like the Berkeley Police Department and countless others, controls the message after they shoot someone.

Click here for more WeCopwatch coverage of Kayla Moore and the Berkeley Police Coverup

Answers! Not Undercovers!

Oakland Police Shoot Innocent Teen in the Face


At around 9:50 p.m. on April 3rd, 2013, a report was made of a strong-arm robbery on 10th and Clay Streets in downtown Oakland. The initial description made in the report was of three black men in their mid-twenties, riding on bicycles and all armed with a knife.

Police claim a witness brought responding officers to several teenagers they thought were the suspects. The witness told police that the teens were in the midst of committing a robbery just down the block. The teens claim that they were simply talking to girls and hanging out.

Police approached the teenagers and despite the difference in age description, and the fact that they didn’t have any bikes, detained them under suspicion of being the robbers.

Within two minutes of arriving on the scene, an officer drew his weapon and fired a single shot at one of the teenager’s faces. The bullet grazed the sixteen-year-old’s jaw and cheek, but his injuries were not life-threatening.

According to the Oakland Police Department (OPD), no one had to get shot in this case and police have now determined that the teenagers were not involved in the robbery. However, a gun is more often used when drawn then it ever could be when holstered. This shooting is a reminder that calling the police can have a deadly impact. Both the witness and OPD have blood on their hands in this incident.