A new piece in the Oakland Tribune by Thomas Peele the author of a recent book about the murder of Chauncey Bailey suggests that the OPD are, in fact, more trigger-happy than cops in other high-crime cities.
Peele cites a host of evidence, including the number of suspects shot at 87 between 2000 and 2012, 39 of whom died to argue that Oakland Police may lack adequate training when it comes to apprehending criminals, and that specific officers have been given what amounts to a free pass to keep shooting civilians.
He points especially to the case of Gary King, Jr., the innocent 20-year-old fatally shot in the back by Sgt. Patrick Gonzales in 2007. Gonzales was exonerated for the shooting because he said he feared for his life, and King was, in fact, carrying a gun, which allegedly was never brandished. The whole thing had been a case of mistaken identity in the first place, with Gonzales believing that King was a suspect he was looking for, because of his dreadlocks. Indeed, after shooting King and severing his aorta, Gonzales proceeded to handcuff him behind his back as he lay bleeding in the street.
Gonzales is among 28 officers on the force who've been involved with two or more officer-involved shootings. He's shot four people.
While a spokesman for the department admits that "We deserve criticism of some officer-involved shootings," he says that the popular versions of some of these shootings are fabricated. Still, the department needs to account for why it's had twice as many officer-involved shootings as Stockton, its more violent and crime-ridden cousin to the east, which has had 45 in the last twelve years, 25 of those fatal.
Below, a video.