The family of an East Oakland barbershop owner who was shot and killed by two Oakland police officers last November has filed a $10 million civil rights and wrongful death against the officers and the city in federal court. The suit on behalf of the family of 37-year-old Derrick Jones, which was filed by Oakland civil rights lawyer John Burris, alleges that Officers Omar Daza-Quiroz and Eriberto Perez-Angeles were motivated by prejudice against Jones because he was black and weren’t justified in shooting him. The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco last week, seeks damages on behalf of Jones’ parents, Nellie and Frank Jones, and his young daughter, Camelia Menciu.
Oakland police said Daza-Quiroz and Perez-Angeles responded to the 5800 block of Bancroft Avenue, where Jones ran his barbershop, at about 9:15 p.m. on Nov. 8 after they were flagged down at a nearby intersection by a woman who said Jones had tried to strangle and kill her. The woman told the officers that Jones was her boyfriend and said he had broken the windshield of her car and broken her cell phone to prevent her from calling police, according to police. Police said when the officers arrived at the barbershop, Jones lied about his identity and ran away. The officers chased Jones and cornered him in a nearby alley, according to police. The officers said Jones ignored repeated commands to surrender over a period of at least several minutes and they shot at him because was reaching into his waistband, which they thought indicated that he was reaching for a gun.
No weapon was found at the scene, but officers found a small metal scale and a small amount of marijuana, police said. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office investigated the shooting and decided not to file charges against Daza-Quiroz and Perez-Angeles. Assistant District Attorney Richard Klemmer said in a report that was issued in March that the two officers fired their weapons because they believed Jones was about to shoot them. Klemmer said it appears the two officers “actually and reasonably believed they were in imminent danger of great bodily injury or death” and cited a “lack of evidence to support a prosecution against either officer.” Jones’ death provoked protest marches by community members who alleged that the officers shouldn’t have shot Jones because he was unarmed.
Because of the community members’ concerns, Police Chief Anthony Batts asked the FBI last December to conduct an independent investigation into the shooting. The investigation is still going on and might not be completed for a long time, Burris said. Burris said, “We filed the suit because we’re tired of waiting for the FBI investigation to be completed.” He said, “There are significant disputed factual issues” about the shooting and he believes the officers weren’t justified in shooting Jones. The suit alleges that Daza-Quiroz and Perez-Angeles and other Oakland police officers have “engaged in a repeated pattern and practice of making improper detentions and false arrests and using excessive, arbitrary and unreasonable force against individuals,” including Jones. A spokesman for the Oakland City Attorney’s Office, which represents the officers and the city, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
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