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Shooting was unlawful, lawsuit against city alleges

By Chris Myers
Friday, May 9th, 2008 at 11:38 pm in Uncategorized.

By Angela Woodall
Oakland Tribune

OAKLAND — The family of 20-year-old Gary King Jr., who was killed by a police officer last year, has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city, saying the use of deadly force against him was unjustified and unlawful.

No amount has been specified in the lawsuit, but attorney Michael Haddad, who is representing the family, said he expected it to be a multimillion-dollar claim.

King was killed Sept. 20 by police Sgt. Pat Gonzales after Gonzales stopped him, believing he fit the description of a man wanted for questioning in an August homicide.

The ensuing altercation remains under review, with both sides strongly contesting the events that led up to the shooting.

Police officials said Sept. 24 that it appeared Gonzales feared for his life when he fired at King.

Police said King was wielding a loaded weapon and was fighting with Gonzales.

Witnesses have said King was trying to get away from the officer.

Haddad said King was not holding a weapon during the struggle and that the officer used excessive force.

The claim was filed on behalf of King’s parents, Gary Sr. and Catherine, as well as an unborn child with whom the claim says King Jr.’s girlfriend is pregnant. It lists Gonzales, police Chief Wayne Tucker, the police department and the city of Oakland as parties responsible for the incident.

Oakland police Sgt. Michael Poirier said three separate inquiries are being conducted into the incident.

The inquiries are being handled by the department’s homicide detail, its internal affairs division and the Alameda County district attorney’s office. Gonzales has been cleared in two previous shootings, one of them fatal, since 2002.

Alex Katz, a spokesman for City Attorney John Russo, said Russo’s office could not comment because they had not yet been served with the papers. The Oakland Police Department did not return calls seeking comment Friday.

A jury trial date has yet to be set, but the case will be heard in Oakland by Judge Saundra Armstrong, according to Haddad, whose firm Haddad and Sherwin has handled numerous civil rights and officer-involved shooting lawsuits.

Contact Angela Woodall at 510-208-6413 or awoodall@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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  • Dan DaSilva

    This guy had a loaded gun and was fighting with the Police. He was a victim? Maybe a victim of stupidity? One less turd in the world. Good for Sgt. Gonzalez. I say we blast all them savage criminals to hell.

  • http://yahoo.com aimen rabah

    well i feel that the kid was wrongly killed and that the police need to man up for what they did because they need to stop killing us kids because we want to live too

  • Jack Jameson

    This officer needs to be strongly investigated. I’m glad a hearing will be coming up in Septemeber 2009.

    I work for the police department and have family members in other police departments as well. However; this officer has 5 shootings within 7 years. Yes, you can say, well he works in Oakland and it’s dangerous. Yes, it’s dangerous, and so are all the other districts other police officers deals with everyday.

    This officer thinks he can shoot suspects when no one is around. If this officer felt his life was in danger, why didn’t he wait for backup who was only a few minutes away. I’m so tired of “I feared for my life” excuse when it comes to this particular officer.