The careers of five Oakland police officers are now on the line. This comes after a review of a deadly police shooting. A civil rights attorney representing the family of the man killed says the recommendation to terminate the officers highly unusual. The Oakland Police Commission’s review of a deadly police shooting ended with a recommendation to fire four Oakland police officers and demote one lieutenant commander “This is their first major test in terms of reviewing a police shooting case,” said Attorney John Burris.
The police commission passed that test, according to Burris who is representing the family of Joshua Pawlik, the man killed in the shooting. An investigation by a federal court appointed monitor overseeing the police department reached the same conclusion. The shooting happened back on March 11, 2018.
Police were responding to a report of a man armed with a gun laying on the ground between two houses on 42nd Street. He was non-responsive to multiple police commands The report says Oakland police officers believed Pawlik to be sleeping, unconscious or under the influence of alcohol.
It goes onto say as he became conscious, lifted his head, attempting to sit up the four officers fired upon him The Alameda County District Attorney’s independent investigation of the shooting exonerated the officers, finding they acted reasonably under the circumstances. Similar conclusions were reached by OPD internal affairs division, the police department’s executive force review board, the chief of police and the citizen’s police review agency
“They went against the grain, they had four other investigations taking place that ultimately supported the police, and for them to make an independent decision based upon the evidence, I thought was quite remarkable,” Burris said. The president of the union that represents Oakland police officers takes a different view in a statement that reads, in part: “This is outrageous. Five different reviews of this shooting, including by the Alameda County’s District Attorney’s Office and the Police Commissions own investigative arm exonerated these officers.
These police officers responded to a citizen’s call for help concerning an armed suspect in their neighborhood” Even in light of recommendations to terminate their employment at OPD, Burris doubts the officers will lose their jobs “They may ultimately get away through an arbitration but at the very least we now know there is a public entity in Oakland that said no,” Burris said.