Amid the Oakland Police Department’s turmoil, the department is now reportedly also facing a lawsuit from the family of a man that died after being struck be a vehicle engaged in a high-speed chase by police, according to KRON4.
The man, 27-year-old Lolomanaia “Lolo” Soakai, reportedly died from a crash in June of 2022 following an alleged Oakland police “ghost pursuit,” or a chase without lights, sirens, or prior authorization, the Mercury News reported. Police had allegedly been following a suspect in a Nissan 350Z down Oakland’s surface streets at speeds up to 100 miles per hour, and the suspect lost control of the Nissan and crashed into a row of parked cars and motorcycles, which crushed Soakai.
KRON reported that four other injuries were reported in the collision, including Soakai’s mother, Lavina Soakai, also suffered from a broken back.
His family has now filed a civil rights lawsuit against OPD with well-known civil rights attorney, Adanté Pointer. Oakland-born Adanté Pointer has represented dozens of families in police brutality cases, according to his website.
Family of man killed in Oakland police ‘ghost chase’ file lawsuit https://t.co/LYUEyCcBQh— The Oaklandside (@Oaklandside) January 26, 2023
Pointer told KRON that OPD officers continued to drive past the crash without stopping to call for any emergency or medical assistance, and that one officer said that he “hoped the driver of the Nissan had died.”
Oaklandside reported that Pointer called the pursuit an "illicit and unlawful practice."
OPD reportedly has a policy that forbids pursuits for nonviolent crimes. “forbidden pursuits for nonviolent crimes.” The police department still regularly uses pursuits, however.
“This was a man who took care of his widowed mother since his father died,” Pointer reportedly told KRON. “He loved his job at Envoy Air, sang gospel in church and lived a quiet life devoted to family and friends.”
KRON reported that the Oakland City Attorney’s office said that the city had not yet been served regarding the incident and had no comment at this time.
Image via Unsplash/Ronan Furuta.