Oakland to Pay $1.5M Over the Murder of Gary King’s Jr.

Oakland to pay $1.5M over police shooting

Story By Henry K Lee for SF Gate

The city of Oakland is expected to pay $1.5 million to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the family of a man who was shot in the back and killed by a police sergeant.

Sgt. Pat Gonzales shot Gary King Jr., 20, of Oakland on Sept. 20, 2007, near 54th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way in North Oakland. King fit the description of a “person of interest” in a killing that happened the month before, and officers found a loaded gun on him after the shooting, police have said.

But in their lawsuit, King’s parents, Gary and Catherine King, said their son “did not pose a significant and immediate threat of death or serious physical injury” to police and that the shooting constituted excessive force.

Gonzales “created the situation where deadly force was used,” said the lawsuit, which named the sergeant, the city and former Police Chief Wayne Tucker as defendants. Among the plaintiffs was King’s child, who was born last year.

The City Council discussed the settlement in closed session in July and is expected to ratify it Sept. 22.

In a memo to the council this month, Assistant City Attorney Randolph Hall urged that the deal be approved “to avoid the risk of an adverse jury verdict and exposure to civil damages and attorneys’ fees.”

Police have said King ignored Gonzales’ efforts to detain him and shook off the effects of a stun gun before the officer opened fire. Gonzales thought King was reaching for a handgun, police said.

Gonzales has been the supervisor of a police crime reduction team, a department firearms instructor and a SWAT team member.

He has been cleared of wrongdoing in two other shootings since 2002, one of which was fatal. He was wounded March 21 by a suspect in East Oakland who killed four other officers.


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