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A cousin of Oscar Grant III has been convicted of robbery, using a firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm for an incident in East Oakland a year ago. Tony Jones, 25, was shot and wounded by Oakland police Officer Cesar Garcia when he was taken into custody in the 2000 block of 62nd Avenue at about 11:45 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2012, and has filed a $10 million civil rights lawsuit against Garcia and the city of Oakland alleging that they violated his constitutional protections against unlawful detention, unlawful arrest and the use of unreasonable force. The suit alleges that Garcia shot Jones in the back and accuses the officer of assault and battery and false imprisonment. Oakland police said Garcia opened fire because Jones turned toward the officer while holding a handgun. Jones’ lawsuit was put on hold pending the outcome of his criminal trial, which resulted in a jury verdict against him on Thursday, his attorney, Waukeen McCoy, said today.
Prosecutors alleged that shortly before the shooting Jones and another man who was never arrested robbed a man at gunpoint outside the Fairfax Liquor Store at Foothill Boulevard and Cole Street in East Oakland. Jones faces a term of 17 years and eight months in state prison when he’s sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Joan Cartwright on March 14, according to District Attorney spokeswoman Teresa Drenick. McCoy said Jones is still suffering from the injuries he sustained when he was shot by Garcia and is confined to a wheelchair. He said Jones has a swollen leg and foot, his buttocks are numb and doctors believe he may never walk normally again. Jones’ prior convictions include one in 2007 for gassing a peace officer while he was an inmate at a California Youth Authority facility in Amador Count. Gassing means throwing urine or feces or a combination of both on a correctional officer. McCoy said he’s “saddened” by the jury’s verdict against Jones and he thinks it resulted from what he alleged were legal errors by Judge Cartwright.
McCoy said he thinks Cartwright shouldn’t have allowed prosecutors to present evidence of a 2003 incident for which Jones, who was 14 at the time, was convicted of carjacking and robbery. He said the prosecution used the prior incident to argue that Jones had a criminal state of mind in the February 2012 incident and had a common scheme and plan for committing robberies. McCoy said he thinks the prior conviction shouldn’t have been admitted because Jones “pleaded to it and served his debt to society” and he believes jurors became “prejudiced” against Jones after they heard about it. McCoy said he also believes that Cartwright erred by not allowing the defense to present a witness who would have supported the defense’s claim that Jones couldn’t have been the person who robbed the victim in the case because Jones was at a different location at the time of the robbery. McCoy, who argued at the end of the trial that Jones should be found not guilty, said he also believes the victim’s identification of Jones as one of the people who robbed him was unreliable because it was “totally off.” He said he plans to appeal Jones’ conviction.
Grant, a 22-year-old Hayward man, was shot and killed by former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland early on Jan. 1, 2009, after Mehserle and other officers responded to reports of a fight on a train. Mehserle, who claimed that he meant to use his Taser stun gun on Grant and fired his service weapon by mistake, was charged with murder but was convicted of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.