September 29, 2016
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Rare Conviction Of CA Killer Cop

  Poornima Weerasekara , New America Media

OAKLAND, CA - Despite the light sentence handed down to former transit officer Johannes Mehserle, the Oscar Grant case represents the only known instance in which a Bay Area law enforcement officer has been tried and convicted for involvement in a killing. Below is a roundup of nine other cop-involved killings dating back to 2001.

VICTIM: Asa Sullivan, 25
WHERE AND WHEN: San Francisco 2006
WHAT HAPPENED: Sullivan, a black man with a 5-year-old son, was shot numerous times while in a darkened attic of an apartment by three officers who mistook him for a trespasser with a gun. The officers had responded to a report of possible drug activity in the apartment. Sullivan fled to the dark attic, which could be reached only through the ceiling of a closet, and refused the officers' order to come out. Sullivan was holding an eyeglasses case that was "mistaken" for a gun. Police originally said that he was armed and had fired through the ceiling, narrowly missing one officer, and that two other officers then opened fire into the ceiling; however, the shot from the ceiling turned out to have been a ricocheting bullet fired by one of the officers. 
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COP(S): They were never charged.
MONEY DAMAGES: Unknown


VICTIMS: Kwang Tae Lee, 61, and Richard Kim, 49 
WHERE AND WHEN: Dublin 2005
WHAT HAPPENED: Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic disturbance at the home of Kim, a Korean American. They found Kim’s brother-in-law, Kwang Tae Lee, holding a knife. According to a police statement, Lee did not drop the knife after being asked to do so repeatedly by police. Community members said Lee had been drinking and did not speak English. Police shot Lee several times and one of the shots hit and killed Kim, who was standing behind a door nearby. 
After the shooting occurred, Kim and Lee’s wives were placed in a hotel room and told not to leave. Police officers told the women the next morning that they had to vacate the room if they didn't pay for it.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COP(S): They were never charged.
MONEY DAMAGES: Unknown


VICTIM: Cammerin Boyd, 29 
WHERE AND WHEN: San Francisco 2004 
WHAT HAPPENED: Boyd, an African-American man, was shot and killed by police after a car chase that ended in the Western Addition. A woman had alleged that Boyd had tried to kidnap her and her child. Police claimed that Boyd, whose legs had been amputated below the knee following a previous car chase by the CHP, had allegedly pointed a gun at them. But witnesses to the killing said that Boyd had his hands in the air in an attempt to surrender. 
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COP(S): They were never charged.
MONEY DAMAGES: A federal jury exonerated the city in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Boyd's mother and children.


VICTIM: Rudy Cardenas, 43
WHERE AND WHEN: San Jose 2004
WHAT HAPPENED: Police shot and killed Cardenas, a father of five, after mistaking him for a parole violator they were attempting to arrest. As police gathered at the home of the parole violator, Cardenas drove up in a van, saw them and sped away. He ditched the van in downtown San Jose and fled on foot. He was gunned down in a downtown San Jose alley— shot in the back— by a state narcotics agent. The agent claimed he thought Cardenas had a gun, but the only weapon they found— a pocket knife— was in his pants pocket. 
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COP(S): The agent was tried in the killing on voluntary manslaughter charges but was acquitted. 
MONEY DAMAGES: Unknown



VICTIM: Cau Bich Tran
WHERE AND WHEN: San Jose 2003
WHAT HAPPENED: Tran was killed by a San Jose police officer in July 2003. The police had come to her neighborhood because they had received reports of an unsupervised child in the street. According to one report, Tran had also called 911 because one of her children was locked in a room in her home. Within moments of the arrival of the police, Tran was fatally shot in the chest. She had been gesturing with a vegetable peeler, called a "dao bao," that is commonly used in Asian cooking, toward the locked bedroom door. The officer thought Tran—who was speaking to him in Vietnamese—was holding the dao bao as a weapon, did not identify himself or ask her to put down the dao bao, and fatally shot her. Tran's partner was in the same room and witnessed the killing, while her children screamed in the next room. She was 4'9" tall and weighed less than 100 pounds. 
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COP(S): The officer was acquitted by the grand jury.
MONEY DAMAGES: Family awarded $1 million


VICTIM: Gregory Hooper, 37-year-old African-American street vendor
WHERE AND WHEN: shot and killed in San Francisco 2002
WHAT HAPPENED: An off-duty officer got into a fistfight with Hooper, a street vendor who had turned his life around after a stint in state prison. Eyewitnesses reported that after the fight ended, the officer shot the unarmed Hooper four times in the chest at point-blank range. At least three witnesses told the San Francisco Chronicle that the officer—who had a record of off-duty misconduct, having been cited previously by the Office of Citizen Complaints— fired not in self-defense, but in anger. 
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COP(S): No charges were brought.
MONEY DAMAGES: Unknown



VICTIM: William Wilkins, 29, a black Panamanian-American police officer
WHERE AND WHEN: Oakland 2001
WHAT HAPPENED: Wilkins, an undercover Oakland police officer for seven years, was killed while on a narcotics stakeout. Wilkins, who was in plainclothes, noticed a stolen car speeding by and gave chase. He caught up with the vehicle and was arresting the suspect at gunpoint. Two Oakland uniformed rookies arrived on the scene and shot Wilkins 11 times. Seconds before the shots were fired, a third officer yelled to them that Wilkins was a fellow oficer, but in the commotion, they didn’t hear him.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COP(S): Four days after the killing, the Oakland Police Department said the rookies had "followed procedure" and returned them to duty.
MONEY DAMAGES: After losing a civil law suit, the city agreed to a $3.5 million settlement in 2006.



VICTIM: Yi Tzu Chen, 43, of San Jose 
WHERE AND WHEN: Fremont 2001
WHAT HAPPENED: Chen was killed by an off-duty San Jose police office when he rammed his cruiser into her stalled car on the freeway in Fremont. The California Highway Patrol reported that the officer was going 86 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone and was primarily at fault.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COP(S): The officer was initially charged with vehicular manslaughter, but police attorneys convinced prosecutors to dismiss charges. 
MONEY DAMAGES: Chen’s husband filed a wrongful death lawsuit after the CHP report, but no settlement was made public. 



VICTIM: Bruce Seward, 42
WHERE AND WHEN: Hayward 2001
WHAT HAPPENED: Seward, a mentally ill man, was shot and killed by BART police in the early hours of Memorial Day outside the Hayward BART station. According to police, Seward, a car salesman, was naked on a bench and had appeared unconscious at first, but he woke up and grabbed the officer's nightstick. According to police police, the officer pepper-sprayed Seward twice, but to no effect, then shot him once in the chest when the man continued to brandish the nightstick.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COP(S): The officer, an eight-year BART veteran who formerly worked as an Alameda County sheriff's deputy and an East Bay Regional Park police officer, was cleared of wrongdoing by the department.
MONEY DAMAGES: Unknown


STORY TAGS: BLACK, AFRICAN AMERICAN, MINORITY, CIVIL RIGHTS, DISCRIMINATION, RACISM, NAACP, URBAN LEAGUE, RACIAL EQUALITY, BIAS, EQUALITY, ASIAN, ASIAN AMERICAN, ASIAN PACIFIC ISLANDER, MINORITY, CIVIL RIGHTS, DISCRIMINATION, RACISM, DIVERSITY, RACIAL EQUALITY, BIAS, EQUALITY, HISPANIC, LATINO, MEXICAN, MINORITY, CIVIL RIGHTS, DISCRIMINATION, RACISM, DIVERSITY, LATINA, RACIAL EQUALITY, BIAS, EQUALITY



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