Here we go again. The vast majority of Richmond residents have no interest in an unprecedented, expensive and time-consuming expansion of the mission of the Richmond Police Commission to investigate incidents that have not even resulted in a complaint. But the Richmond Progressive Alliance believes that is now Richmond’s top priority, along with reopening an investigation into the death of Pedie Perez.
On February 2, the City Council finally managed to find a way to direct the Police Commission to conduct a hearing on the death of Pedie Perez that occurred in September of 2014, a year and a half ago. It was the first of two contentious items involving the Police Commission. The second involved requiring the Police Commission to investigate all deaths and serious injuries at the hands of Police, even in the absence of a complaint.
Regarding the Perez death, there is no one among us who would not like to have the opportunity to roll those events back and end up with a different outcome. It is a regrettable tragedy, but the continuing search for “justice” and “transparency” will provide no relief for anyone, and it will not bring Pedie back. It is time to move on.
In framing his argument, Vice-mayor Martinez evidenced his lack of knowledge by writing:
The complainants stated that they did not file sooner because they had been unaware of this option. At that time, the Police Commission Investigative Officer position was vacant. The City Attorney determined that no Police Commission investigation could occur, even though members of the Police Commission requested permission to do so.
Martinez is mistaken on both counts. The Police Commission Investigative Officer was still under retention by the City of Richmond, and it was his decision pursuant to the Police Commission Ordinance, not the city attorney’s, to not waive the late filing of the complaint. He properly communicated his recommendation not to consider the tardy complaint via email on May 21, 2015, copied below:
From: Terry Simpson [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 21, 2015 4:17 PM
To: Bruce Soublet
Subject: RPC Complaint received on 5-1-15
On 5-1-15 Kibibi sent me a lengthy complaint from members of the Perez family related to the shooting death of Richard Perez by Officer Wallace Jensen on September 14, 2104. In the complaint they mention their unhappiness with the Police Department hiring an outside investigator (Retired Police Captain) to conduct an independent investigation for the department. They felt the fact that the investigator was a member of the law enforcement profession made him Bias. They most certainly will feel the same towards me.
The complaint received by the Perez family is well outside of the 45 day reporting requirement and we should not take it on, just as we have not taken on others that are this old. If you have not reviewed this complaint I would suggest you get a copy from Kibibi. Given the high profile nature of the case I would suggest a letter from your office be sent to the family explaining our decision not to investigate due to the time restriction. I assure you they will not be happy about it. To receive this letter from me will only add to their frustration.
I will forward you the documents I received from Kibibi in a separate email.
Terry L. Simpson
Simpson Investigative Services Group
P.O. Box 23786
Pleasant Hill, Ca 94523-0786
Office 925-472-0604, Fax 925-472-0614, Cell 925-348-0717
In my opinion, both of the RPA-driven Police Commission radical changes are solutions looking for non-existent problems.
Four of my City Council colleagues have argued that there is a significant lack of trust in the Richmond Police Department by the community, and that it must be addressed -- now. We must be talking to different people, because people are telling me just the opposite, that their confidence in the RPD has never been higher; they just wish there were even more cops. There is no statistical evidence that Richmond residents are concerned about police conduct. The number of complaints filed with the Police Commission has dropped off in the last two years to one a year, hardly an indication of widespread concern.
From 2003 to 2105, there were only 49 total complaints filed with the Police Commission, or an average of less than four per year. Many complaints were dropped because the complainants did not even choose to pursue them. From 2010 through 2015, only 24 complaints were filed, still an average of four per year. Fourteen were dropped, and the remaining twelve were determined by both the investigative officer and the Police Commission to be unsubstantiated. The only claim in 2015 was Perez, which was rejected as untimely.
There has not been a single substantiated complaint at least in the last six years.
- 2010: 5 complaints filed, 3 of which were dropped, 3 investigated and found unsubstantiated
- 2011: 6 complaints filed, 3 of which were dropped, 3 investigated and found unsubstantiated
- 2012: 6 complaints filed, 4 of which were dropped, 2 investigated and found unsubstantiated
- 2013: 7 complaints filed, 3 of which were dropped, 4 investigated and found unsubstantiated
- 2014: 1 complaint filed, which was dropped
- 2015: 1 complaint filed (Perez), determined untimely
In the Richmond Community Survey for years 2007 through 2015, residents’ rating of police rose from 38% excellent/good to 59% excellent/good, an increase of 55%. People’s confidence in the Richmond police is clearly rising dramatically, not declining. Similarly, in the 2015 Community Survey (see below), the top priority was “reducing crime.” Investigating the police was not even mentioned.
In December 2014, Police Chief Chris Magnus received national attention for standing with a “Black Lives Matter” sign, even though he received a lot of criticism, some from his own department. His message was clear, however:
Magnus said Friday, “When did it become a political act to acknowledge that 'black lives matter’ and show respect for the very real concerns of our minority communities? This should not be about 'us versus them.’ It should be about finding ways to build bridges and address the schism that exists between many of our residents and police.” (http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Richmond-cops-slam-chief-for-holding-Black-lives-5953636.php)
In September 2015, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch visited Richmond to praise the Richmond Police Department as a national example:
During her public comments, Lynch highlighted the Richmond Police Department's early adoption of body cameras, which went into effect this winter; training on implicit bias; and programs such as Operation Ceasefire, which addresses gun violence by pulling in police, probation officers and community groups. "It's clear to me that Richmond is working toward a holistic and comprehensive approach to criminal justice that is more than just an arrest but is trying to identify many of the causes that lead people to connect with the criminal justice system in the first place," Lynch said. (http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_28877262/richmond-u-s-attorney-general-loretta-lynch-visiting).
The United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch, center, shares a laugh with Richmond Mayor Tom Butt, right and Acting U.S. Attorney Brian Stetch, left, prior to holding a town-hall-style meeting in Richmond on Sept. 25, 2015. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)
Because other cities and other police departments have had problems with excessive force, particularly aimed at blacks, my City Council colleagues seem to take a perverse satisfaction in trying to find a way for Richmond to share those dubious distinctions, instead of lifting up our distinctive successes.
On Tuesday night, February 2, in exasperation, I said the City Council members who are pushing these draconian investigative measures were crazy, but former Police Chief Chris Magnus was more diplomatic in a Facebook Post:
I can say with absolute confidence that NO other cities are following this model. It seems that no finding will suit the agenda some folks have unless it validates their preconceived notions about how that incident occurred. This has nothing to do with fairness or independence, but rather is entirely political. There are so many ways meaningful civilian oversight could be better achieved, but this is a huge step backwards for a city that could do so much better.
The Perez matter has already been investigated four times, once by the coroner, once by the district attorney, once by RPD internal affairs and finally by an independent consultant retained by the City. None found any wrongdoing by Officer Jensen, and two of the four have been extensively reported in detail in the media. I is difficult to imagine any additional information that could be developed by yet another investigation.
The Perez family could have had a jury trial in their Federal Court litigation, but instead they chose to settle for a large sum of money, which I did not support. Having their day in court is what they have been asking for, and they voluntarily gave up that option.
The City Council split 4-3 on both items, including abstentions, accentuating the divisiveness that began in 2015 with rent control. The majority included the three RPA Council members (McLaughlin, Beckles and Martinez) plus Myrick. The votes followed contentious and emotional statements in both open and closed sessions by the four Council members that I found very troubling, inappropriate and patently insulting to the Richmond Police Department. All averred that the Richmond Police Department is the best in the world before proceeding to smash it with visceral verbal attacks:
- Jael Myrick compared the Richmond Police Department to Chevron, arguing that we don’t trust Chevron to investigate themselves, so why should we trust the Richmond Police Department to investigate themselves?
- Vice-mayor Eduardo Martinez , who is being characterized as the new Corky Booze for ignoring rules of meeting decorum, has already made up his mind, calling the Pedie Perez death “a homicide.”
- Jovanka Beckles said that the Richmond Police Officers Association (RPOA) “defended racist murderers,” later trying to clean it up by explaining she meant police unions in general, not necessarily Richmond. She went on to say I (Tom Butt) couldn’t understand the issue because of my “white male privilege.”
- To Gayle McLaughlin’s credit, she did not participate in the worst of the police bashing but did make sure people recalled the racist and hateful hit pieces aimed at her by the RPOA several years ago. She didn’t say it, but the intimation was that this is pay-back time.
It is not clear whether these four Council members simply want an objective investigation or one that confirms the belief they already have that Perez was murdered.
The four City Council members and members of the public pushing this often mentioned a quest for “justice” in advocating for yet another investigation. The Merriam-Webster definition of “justice” is “the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals.” Since it is understood that the requested investigation, will not result in any discipline or punishment, those seeking justice will continue to be disappointed.
They also advocated for “transparency,” without defining what that means. The intimation was that someone was hiding something regarding the Perez matter, but as can been seen from my summary that follows, the events of the Perez matter are as clear as they will ever be. No one is hiding anything. They just don’t like the results of the previous investigations.
A majority of the Police Commission has also taken an interest in investigating the Perez matter but has asserted that they have been barred from doing so. If they wish to conduct an investigation pursuant to a complaint, that time has long passed (subject to city council direction for a special investigation). But if they just want to review the facts of the incident as a basis for evaluating police procedures and recommending changes, they can do that any time under the current police Commission ordinance, which provides the following description of their authority:
Review and evaluate the policies, practices and procedures contained in the Richmond Police Department Manual and develop programs and strategies to promote positive police-community relations and make appropriate recommendations to the Chief of Police. Within thirty (30) days after receiving such recommendations the Chief of Police shall submit a response to the Commission. If the Commission is dissatisfied with the Chief of Police's response, the Commission may submit its recommendations to the City Manager. Within thirty (30) days after receiving such recommendations the City Manager shall forward a response to the Commission. If the Commission is dissatisfied with the City Manager's response, the Commission may submit its recommendations directly to the City Council for appropriate action. The Chief of Police and the City Manager may extend for an additional thirty (30) days the time periods in which they are required to submit their responses to the Commission by giving the Commission written notice of such extension.
At the end of the day, it is highly unlikely that a new investigation will provide either new or different information or conclusions. There were only four witnesses, including Officer Jensen. Most of what transpired is not disputed, only the last few seconds, and even that is murky.
Martinez, the motion maker, included in the motion that discipline is not the purpose or objective of any investigation (and per POBOR, discipline is barred by the one year limitation), why can’t the Police Commission under the above authority, simple take up a discussion of the events that led to the Perez death, with the intent of reviewing existing procedures, compliance therewith and possibly recommending any changes? They could invite (and perhaps even subpoena) witnesses, review the voluminous accounts in the media, RPA and Oscar Grant Committee press releases, and question RPD staff in an effort to determine what happened and why.
Here is my summary of what is agreed and what is disputed, based on testimony and media accounts included below:
- Jensen was summoned to the scene by the store clerk, Delik, because Perez shoplifted a bottle of liquor. There may have been additional calls from others. According to Delik, he also asked Jensen to take Perez home. Perez was highly intoxicated. Jensen engaged Perez, presumably to determine who he was and under what circumstances was he making a nuisance of himself at the liquor store. Before their engagement was completed, Perez began to leave. Jensen then tried to stop him from leaving and tried to physically subdue him and place him in handcuffs. Perez resisted. The two men were on the ground struggling. At some point Jensen tried to radio for backup, but his radio was on the wrong channel because of a previous call to another officer. So far, there is no significant conflict in the witness accounts
- Jensen later testified that during the struggle, Perez used his hands in a manner that Perez believed was an effort to grab his gun. The other witnesses testified that they did not see Perez place his hands on Jensen’s gun. This is the first item of conflicting conclusions. Apparently, there were only three witnesses other than Jensen: Clark, “W,” and Delik. None of the three testified they were certain Perez did not go for the gun, they just didn’t see him do it. Even Clark testified “his hand might have slipped on the gun while they were tusslin'” Given that fact that the Jensen and Perez were actively struggling on the ground and Perez had at least one hand free, the gun issue is not necessarily even conflicting testimony, and it is impossible to resolve one way or another.
- At some point, Jenson and Perez broke free of one another, and both stood up. What happens next is the second item of both conflicting testimony and conflicting conclusions. Jensen testified that Perez lunged or “advanced” at him with his arms extended. Jensen testified, “I was afraid he was going to take my gun and kill me.” One of the three witnesses, Clark, did not have a clear view of what happened. Clark said he took several more steps inside the store, and then looked back through the store window to see Officer Jensen backing up and firing his weapon. "All of a sudden I see the officer backin' up, shooting.” Delik either did not see the final moments in detail or did not go into detail describing them. He testified, “And then Pedie managed to push the officer up. And the police backed up a few steps and shot him.” Regarding Perez’ hands, Delik said, “They were down.” “W” testified that when he was shot, Perez’ hands were “By his shoulders.”
- There is inconsistency between Delik’s and “W’”s testimony about Perez’ hands. None of the witnesses refuted Jensen’s testimony that Perez was “advancing,” and two of the three agreed that Jensen was backing up.
- So where that leaves us is the question about Jensen’s state of mind in a fast moving, quickly changing physical encounter with a person he was trying to legally detain following at least three actions by Perez: shoplifting, public intoxication and resisting arrest. Did Jenson fear for his life, or didn’t he? That goes to Jensen’s state of mind. Only Jensen can answer that question, and he already has. Did Jensen have reason to fear for his life? That will continue to be debated regardless of how many times the incident is investigated, and there will never be a conclusion, just opinions. The DA reached the proper conclusion: “Grove also noted that in order to prosecute Jensen, Delik's account must prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the officer wasn't acting in self-defense.”
- The video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRA9oQmVgb4 has been cited as proof that Jensen’s testimony is inaccurate, but take a look. The video, taken from inside the store looking through an obscured window shows virtually no details of the confrontation.
- Critics of Jensen argue that Jenson should not have tried to detain or arrest Perez, and that if he did, he should have used non-lethal means such as his dog, a baton, pepper spray or a taser. They also argue that Perez was neither going for Jensen’s gun nor making any threatening move towards him. Neither the witnesses nor the videos either prove or disprove either of these assertions. Speculation about whether there would have been a different outcome if Jensen had used his dog, baton, pepper spray or a taser in the encounter may be the subject for a discussion about police procedures, but it doesn’t change the basic question of whether or not Jensen feared for his life or had had reason to fear for his life.
SELECTED QUOTES FROM MEDIA COVERAGE AND OTHER SOURCES
Perez had a recent history of alcohol abuse, gun use and drunk driving
Esparza testified Perez’s previous run-ins with the law included an arrest on DUI charges the night before he died. He was convicted of DUI last year and was once arrested on a gun charge that did not lead to a conviction, Esparza said. The rap sheet was “not significant,” according to Esparza, but there was a “pattern beginning to form.” Hearsay testimony is permitted in inquests, and Esparza said an aunt of Perez told police that “when he drank, he would lose his temper,” and that he expected to die by age 25 at the hands of a police officer. Other family members, speaking outside of court, said the aunt had misinterpreted a conversation she overhead Perez had with a woman. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/California%20Cop%20Says%20He%20Shot%20Unarmed%20Richard%20'Pedie'%20Perez%20Grabbing%20For%20His%20Gun.html)
Jensen’s supervisors had identified the store as a “problem location” and the citizen identified Perez as “causing problems” there, Grove wrote. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/No%20Charges%20For%20Richmond%20Police%20Officer%20Who%20Fatally%20Shot%20Man%20Outside%20Liquor%20Store,%20DA%20Says%20It%20Was%20Self-Defense%20%C2%AB%20CBS%20San%20Francisco.html)
“The younger Perez had several prior run-ins with the law. Twice he was arrested for alleged drunk driving, according to his father, and the most recent DUI occurred the night before he was killed. In August, he was charged with firing a gun in a grossly negligent manner for a shooting near the family's recycling lot, Richmond Confidential reports.”
Perez was a habitual abuser of alcohol with a history of acting criminally irresponsible when drunk. “According to his father, on the night of Friday, Sept. 12, two days before his death, an officer issued Perez a DUI while he was sitting in a parked truck in front of the recycling lot. He blew a .08 on a breathalyzer test, was arrested and spent the night in jail due to a prior DUI. He was released the morning of the shooting. (http://richmondconfidential.org/2014/09/17/friends-and-family-paint-a-picture-of-richard-perez-as-sometimes-troublesome-but-not-dangerous/)
“The clerk said that a man was ‘causing problems’ by trying to take alcohol from the store on credit. He pointed inside to Perez.” (http://richmondconfidential.org/2014/12/12/inquest-reveals-details-of-richmond-police-shooting/)
Perez was friendly with staff at Uncle Sam’s, where he had been a regular for years. He stopped in at the shop at least four times on the day he died, Delik said. On his last visit, Perez was visibly intoxicated and took a bottle of Hennessy cognac without paying for it, Delik said. When Delik spotted a policeman patrolling alone on foot, he said he flagged the officer and asked him to intervene. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Witness%20provides%20new%20details%20in%20deadly%20Richmond%20police%20shooting%20_%20Richmond%20Confidential.html)
On Sept. 14, Jensen was responding to a nuisance report at Uncle Sam’s Liquors, located at 3322 Cutting Blvd. According to the three-page letter from Grove, a citizen had called to complain that people were loitering in front of the store. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/No%20Charges%20For%20Richmond%20Police%20Officer%20Who%20Fatally%20Shot%20Man%20Outside%20Liquor%20Store,%20DA%20Says%20It%20Was%20Self-Defense%20%C2%AB%20CBS%20San%20Francisco.html)
On September 14, a fatal encounter took place between Wallace Jensen, an officer on foot patrol, and 24-year-old Richard Perez III. Already on probation for a previous gun incident, Perez was intoxicated and resisted arrest after a liquor store clerk reported that he had been shoplifting. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Police%20Violence%20Is%20Not%20Inevitable%20%20Four%20Ways%20a%20California%20Police%20Chief%20Connected%20Cops%20With%20Communities%20by%20Steve%20Early%20%E2%80%94%20YES!%20Magazine.html)
Mohammed Delik, the store clerk, said he was watching the entire time. Speaking through an interpreter, Delik, who said he had earlier asked Officer Jensen to escort the intoxicated Perez home, (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Two%20Eyewitnesses%20Contradict%20Cop%20in%20Police%20Killing%20_%20East%20Bay%20Express.html)
Working the graveyard shift that September night, Officer Wallace Jensen pulled his police cruiser over on Stege Avenue and parked out of sight of Uncle Sam’s Liquors. He’d heard reports that locals hung around Uncle Sam’s drinking after dark. His lieutenant had asked him to pass by and disburse crowds. Jensen left his car around the corner to catch potential loiterers off-guard. (http://richmondconfidential.org/2014/12/12/inquest-reveals-details-of-richmond-police-shooting/)
Jensen, a K-9 patrol officer and 7-year veteran of the department, said Perez was intoxicated but initially compliant when a store clerk at Uncle Sam’s flagged the officer down as he walked by. The clerk said that a man was “causing problems” by trying to take alcohol from the store on credit. He pointed inside to Perez. “I could tell he was unsteady, he was swinging from side to side,” Jensen said of Perez. “His speech was slurred.” (http://richmondconfidential.org/2014/12/12/inquest-reveals-details-of-richmond-police-shooting/)
There is no dispute that when Jensen arrived, Perez was highly intoxicated
Perez had a blood alcohol level of 0.247, according to Josselson. That's about three times the legal limit to drive. There were several medications in his system, but Josselson testified the levels were so low he didn’t think Perez had abused the drugs. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/California%20Cop%20Says%20He%20Shot%20Unarmed%20Richard%20'Pedie'%20Perez%20Grabbing%20For%20His%20Gun.html)
Grove said Perez was “very intoxicated” and got into an altercation with Jensen while the officer was trying to make contact with him. At a coroner’s inquest on Dec. 10, a forensic pathologist testified that Perez’s blood-alcohol level at the time was .24 percent, or three times the legal driving limit. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/No%20Charges%20For%20Richmond%20Police%20Officer%20Who%20Fatally%20Shot%20Man%20Outside%20Liquor%20Store,%20DA%20Says%20It%20Was%20Self-Defense%20%C2%AB%20CBS%20San%20Francisco.html)
Toxicology reports indicate that Perez’s blood alcohol level was .247, roughly three times the legal limit for driving, and that he had low levels of Benadryl, an anti-depressant and an anti-seizure medication in his blood, Dr. Arnold Josselson, a forensic pathologist, testified.( http://richmondconfidential.org/2014/12/12/inquest-reveals-details-of-richmond-police-shooting/)
Jenson tried to detain Perez, but Perez walked away
While Jensen tried to contact another officer on police radio, he said Perez got up and walked away, even though the officer said he had told Perez he was not free to go. “Fuck this. I’m out of here,” Jensen said he recalled Perez saying. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/California%20Cop%20Says%20He%20Shot%20Unarmed%20Richard%20'Pedie'%20Perez%20Grabbing%20For%20His%20Gun.html)
Jensen said he told Perez to sit down on the curb outside and asked him for identification. Perez had had several previous run-ins with police, including a weapons charge that was later reduced in court. He complained that another officer had taken his driver’s license the night before, after a DUI stop. “He was very talkative,” Jensen said. “He was very animated with his hands.” Jensen said he called Officer Lane Matsui, who’d worked the previous night’s patrol, to verify Perez’s story. As he did so, Perez began to wander away. “Fuck this, I’m out of here. I’m done,” Perez said, according to Jensen (http://richmondconfidential.org/2014/12/12/inquest-reveals-details-of-richmond-police-shooting/)
From Oscar Grant Committee, testimony of Mohamad Delik, store clerk (http://www.oscargrantcommittee.org/static/pedie-video-witnesses_files/mohamad-delik-int.pdf):
SJ: Up until the shooting was there any communication between Pedie and the police?
MD: The officer said, "Don't try to fight me." Pedie was just trying to get away and to go home cause he felt there was a lot of pressure and pain on his body.
FR: Did Pedie act like he was trying to run away?
MD: He tried to avoid all this by trying to go home.
When Jensen tried to stop and subdue Perez, Perez resisted
In the shop, he encountered 24-year-old Richard “Pedie” Perez III, who was drunk and unarmed. The men exchanged words briefly and then their altercation turned physical. Jensen attempted to handcuff Perez, before losing control of the situation and radioing for help. (http://richmondconfidential.org/2014/12/12/inquest-reveals-details-of-richmond-police-shooting/)
Jensen grabbed Perez from behind and swept out his legs, knocking him to the ground, he said. Perez got back to his feet. The officer said he radioed for backup and knocked Perez down again, this time from the front with something like a “judo throw.” “I was telling him to stop resisting, to stop fighting, that he was under arrest,” Jensen said. “I related that over and over.” (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/California%20Cop%20Says%20He%20Shot%20Unarmed%20Richard%20'Pedie'%20Perez%20Grabbing%20For%20His%20Gun.html)
But the store clerk, potentially a key witness in the investigation into the first deadly shooting by a Richmond police officer in more than seven years, said the fatal shooting may have been averted if the officer was successful in cuffing Perez moments before. “I saw him on the floor and the police tried to lock him up. [The officer] couldn’t lock his hands,” said Mohammad Delik, the clerk working that night. Video footage from inside the store shows Delik watching the shooting from the shop’s doorway. Police have not explicitly contradicted Delik’s account that before the shooting Perez was on his stomach on the pavement as the officer tried unsuccessfully to handcuff him. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Witness%20provides%20new%20details%20in%20deadly%20Richmond%20police%20shooting%20_%20Richmond%20Confidential.html)
The officer instructed Perez to sit down and show identification, Delik said. Perez then attempted to flee and was grabbed and held to the ground by the officer. Delik said he heard the officer say “Don’t try to fight me,” as he attempted to restrain and handcuff Perez.
But Perez wrestled free from the officer’s hold, then moved toward him, at which point the officer drew his gun and shot Perez three times in the front of the torso, Delik said. Perez died on the scene. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Witness%20provides%20new%20details%20in%20deadly%20Richmond%20police%20shooting%20_%20Richmond%20Confidential.html)
Delik, who said he had earlier asked Officer Jensen to escort the intoxicated Perez home, told me that he never saw Perez reach for the officer's weapon during the altercation. "I didn't see [Perez] reach for the officer's gun," he said in Arabic through an interpreter. "And I was standing in the doorway the entire time." Delik's recollection of what happened before the shooting differs from that of Clark, however. Delik said he remembers the officer tackling Perez from the front, at which point, Perez landed on his back and he and the officer struggled face-to-face. Delik said he then saw Perez push the officer off of him and raise his hands, which is when the officer shot him. Delik said this is what he told both officials from the District Attorney's Office and the Richmond Police Department after the incident. It differs from the report's assertion that Perez lunged at the officer. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Two%20Eyewitnesses%20Contradict%20Cop%20in%20Police%20Killing%20_%20East%20Bay%20Express.html)
From Oscar Grant Committee testimony of Mohamad Delik, store clerk (http://www.oscargrantcommittee.org/static/pedie-video-witnesses_files/mohamad-delik-int.pdf)
(MD: I see the police shoot him.
FR: Did you see the confrontation prior to the shooting?
MD: The officer tackled Pedie and put him down, he tried to handcuff him while he was down. While he was down, the officer's knee was pushing his side down.
FR: The officer had Pedie down and had his knee on him and tried to put his handcuffs on?
MD: Yes. When Pedie was down on the ground one arm -- the right one -- was under his body. The left one was free. So the officer was dealing with only one hand.
FR: So his left hand was free and his right hand was pinned under his body?
MD: Then Pedie was trying to get up and resist handcuff.
FR: He had his shin on Pedie's back. So Pedie was underneath the cop and the cop had his shin on his back.
From Oscar Grant Committee testimony of “W” (http://www.oscargrantcommittee.org/static/pedie-video-witnesses_files/mohamad-delik-int.pdf)
W: I don't know exactly what time it was. It was night time. Right when I got out of the car, he was slamming.
GS: Where was the car parked?
W: Our car was parked where the store is at, a little back. When we got out of the car we thought it was people fightin'. So when we get out to look, policeman was beatin' on him, on Pedie. And then I guess Pedie got himself up, and then he was back and then the police reached for his gun and then he said, he put his hands up and said "Don't shoot me! Don't shoot me!" and then he shot him, like a few times.
GS: All right, let's go over this again. You parked your car, you were about to make a purchase at the liquor store, is that right?
GS: When you get out of the car, you see a tussle of some sort.
W: Yeah. Pedie was on the floor.
GS: Was the cop on top of him?
GS: So you saw the cop on top of Pedie?
From Oscar Grant Committee testimony of Steve Clark, customer (http://www.oscargrantcommittee.org/static/pedie-video-witnesses_files/mohamad-delik-int.pdf)
SC: The incident took place as soon as I pulled up. I pulled up in front of the store, the young man
SC: Was coming to the store, was about to go into the store; and all of a sudden this guy came from behind him, and tackled him.
FR: Guy, you mean a Police Officer?
SC: Well yeah, yeah he was the police officer. And I parked, and I got out the car. All the time I'm walking trying to figure out what happening. So I get out the car, and I’m walking....
FR: So lets back up a moment, you say he tackled Pedie from behind?
SC: Tackled from behind, yes sir.
SC: Not once did I hear him say that he was a police officer.
FR: Did you hear him say anything to Pedie before he tackled him?
SC: No, he didn't say nothing, just tackled him. Took him to the ground, Pedie's face down, he's on top of Pedie. I'm walking past him, right here! This close!
FR: How far away were you?
SC: One, two feet.
FR: Two feet away.
SC: And I’m walking past him, I’m looking down at him, at the same time. And he's telling Pedie to “stop resisting, stop resisting”. And, I’m steady walking, and another guy, a Mexican guy approached us. He went down to his knees.
FR: When you say another guy, are you talking about another cop?
SC: No, it wasn't a cop.
SC: It was a professor, I think it was one of Pedie friends. Because he knew his name!
SJ: Probably Nick, yeah.
SC: He knew his name, yeah. So he knelt down, and he was telling Pedie to “stop resisting, stop resisting”. All of a sudden the officer turned to the guy, and said “get away from me, get back. Get away, get away.” So the guy backed up. So, at that time I knew don't mess with this, go on about my business. So I walked to the store. I walked to the door of the store, and I turned around, and he still wrestling with Pedie. Pedie got his hands behind him, and he's still face down. The officer can't get the handcuffs on him.
FR: He's got Pedie's hands behind him?
Jensen’s backup did not arrive during the incident
During his testimony, Jensen said he realized after the shooting that his radio had been switched to the wrong frequency, which explained why police backup never arrived. “Nobody on our primary channel had heard what had just occurred,” Jensen said. (http://richmondconfidential.org/2014/12/12/inquest-reveals-details-of-richmond-police-shooting/)
Jenson recalled that Perez went for his gun
With Perez fighting back from the ground, “I felt something began pulling on my gun. I felt several pulls,” Jensen testified. “I saw Mr. Perez’s left hand on my gun.” Jensen said he dislodged Perez’s hand from his holster. Standing a “couple feet” from Perez, Jensen said he drew his gun. “My concern was Mr. Perez would take my gun,” Jensen said. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/California%20Cop%20Says%20He%20Shot%20Unarmed%20Richard%20'Pedie'%20Perez%20Grabbing%20For%20His%20Gun.html)
Delik said he did not see Perez reach for the officer’s gun. The officer did not use his baton or any other non-lethal weapons, Delik said.( file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Witness%20provides%20new%20details%20in%20deadly%20Richmond%20police%20shooting%20_%20Richmond%20Confidential.html)
The first witness, Steven Clark, was stopping into Uncle Sam's on his way home from work. Clark said in an interview with the Express that as he pulled up to Uncle Sam's, he saw Officer Jensen "put" Perez on the ground with Perez's hands behind his back. Clark said he recalls that Perez's friend told Perez at the time to stop resisting arrest, and that Officer Jensen told Perez's friend to back up and that he didn't need any help making the arrest. Clark said he kept walking into the store, not wanting to get involved. He said that from the doorway, he saw the officer "with Pedie [Perez] still on the ground. ...The way they were struggling, [Perez's] hand might have slid up the side of the officer because he was struggling, but he couldn't reach the officer's gun or anything because the officer had him pinned down. "Like I told the officer [who questioned Clark after the incident], his hand might have slipped on the gun while they were tusslin', but [Perez] was still face down. He was always face down when I was seein' him." (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Two%20Eyewitnesses%20Contradict%20Cop%20in%20Police%20Killing%20_%20East%20Bay%20Express.html)
Jensen ordered Perez to stop walking. When he didn’t, Jensen pursued, grabbed Perez from behind, and swept his legs out from under him. “I fell on top of him, I was struggling to gain control of his hands,” Jensen said. He called for backup, not realizing his radio was still on the private channel he’d used to call Matsui. Perez writhed free from beneath Jensen and managed to rise to his feet. Using a judo-style throw, Jensen brought Perez down on his back and fell on top of him once more. Face-to-face this time, Jensen said Perez used his right hand to grab a hold of Jensen’s left. The officer felt Perez’s left fingers wriggle into the right side of his service belt, near where his gun was holstered. “That’s when I began to feel something pulling,” Jensen said. “I then looked down and I could see Mr. Perez’s left hand on the grip of my gun.” (http://richmondconfidential.org/2014/12/12/inquest-reveals-details-of-richmond-police-shooting/)
From Oscar Grant Committee testimony of “W” (http://www.oscargrantcommittee.org/static/pedie-video-witnesses_files/mohamad-delik-int.pdf)
GS: At any point did you see Pedie put his hands on Officer Jensen's gun?
FR: What about when they were wrestling on the ground?
W: No... No.
GS: Thank you very much, brother
From Oscar Grant Committee testimony of Steve Clark, customer (http://www.oscargrantcommittee.org/static/pedie-video-witnesses_files/mohamad-delik-int.pdf)
GS: That's motivation, we can't read his mind, but we do know this. Did at Clark, Mr Clark at any point that you were able to see, did you see Pedie try to take the cops gun from him?
SC: No, no.
FR: Did you hear Pedie say anything to the officer?
SC: Pedie didn't say nothing. Pedie was just trying to uh... get away from him. Now, while they was down on the ground... While I was walking past, Pedie was turning... turning turning, cop was, was trying to get his handcuffs on him. I don’t know if Pedie hands slid past is gun or what? That was irrelevant because at this time Pedie was face down. The officer got up, and shot that boy for nothing. And, he laid there, he looked at me, that boy didn't move at all no more after that. I walked past him, I’m still looking trying to see if still breathing, boy wasn't breathing any more. So I went on, and got my drink.
From Oscar Grant Committee testimony of Steve Clark, customer (http://www.oscargrantcommittee.org/static/pedie-video-witnesses_files/mohamad-delik-int.pdf
SC: I told them the cop came up, grabbed the man, wrestled him to the ground, put on his face down, trying to put his handcuffs on him, next thing I knew he was backing up shooting the boy.
SJ: They uh... mistook your statement in a different way, saying it was favorable to them, and I'm not
hearing that now. Alright!
SC: They were trying to say that I seen, I seen Pedie trying to take the gun.
SJ: No, they trying to put words in your mouth?
SC: Yeah... But I told them specifically that's accusations, that assumes! Now Pedie...
FR: They tried to get you to say that?
SC: Pedie was wrestling on the ground. He said “Did he take the gun, did he try to take his gun?” No. I said “ I didn't see none of that, because of the potato rack. I didn't see that, I was inside.” And that was it.
Jensen fired when Perez advanced towards him
He said he fired the first shot when Perez “advanced” toward him, and two more rounds as Perez continued coming. Perez grabbed his chest and doubled over, then stumbled into the liquor store and collapsed, according to Jensen. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/California%20Cop%20Says%20He%20Shot%20Unarmed%20Richard%20'Pedie'%20Perez%20Grabbing%20For%20His%20Gun.html)
Perez allegedly grabbed at Jensen’s holstered firearm and attempted to remove it. Once Jensen broke free of Perez, Perez allegedly lunged at Jensen and the officer fired his weapon once. Perez allegedly charged at Jensen a second time and Jensen fired twice. Perez was pronounced dead at the scene. “It is important to note that during this encounter, Officer Jensen was alone; no other officers were with him, and no civilians attempted to help the officer,” Grove wrote. “The evidence indicates that Officer Jensen believed that he was faced with the choice of using his weapon against Mr. Perez, or having Mr. Perez use it against him.” (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/No%20Charges%20For%20Richmond%20Police%20Officer%20Who%20Fatally%20Shot%20Man%20Outside%20Liquor%20Store,%20DA%20Says%20It%20Was%20Self-Defense%20%C2%AB%20CBS%20San%20Francisco.html)
Jensen said he shot Perez three times when Perez, after resisting orders to sit on the curb, tried to grab his gun as they tussled. “Officer Jensen testified that during the fight Mr. Perez grabbed the officer’s holstered firearm and attempted to remove it,” Grove wrote, according to the Times. “Once he had disengaged from Mr. Perez, Officer Jensen said he had his weapon at ‘low ready’ when Mr. Perez lunged at him and the officer fired his weapon one time. Mr. Perez then charged at him again and the officer fired his weapon two more times.” (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Richmond%20police%20officer%20who%20fatally%20shot%20Richard%20'Pedie'%20Perez%20won't%20be%20charged%20-%20Richmond%20Standard.html)
"Officer Jensen testified that during the fight Mr. Perez grabbed the officer's holstered firearm and attempted to remove it," the report adds. "Once he had disengaged from Mr. Perez, Officer Jensen said he had his weapon at 'low ready' when Mr. Perez lunged at him and the officer fired his weapon one time. Mr. Perez then charged at him again and the officer fired his weapon two more times." (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Two%20Eyewitnesses%20Contradict%20Cop%20in%20Police%20Killing%20_%20East%20Bay%20Express.html)
Clark said he took several more steps inside the store, and then looked back through the store window to see Officer Jensen backing up and firing his weapon. "All of a sudden I see the officer backin' up, shooting," Clark said. "I said to myself, 'He must have shot him [Perez] in the legs or something." Instead, Clark watched Perez stumble into the store, doubled over, holding his chest, walking toward Clark and eventually falling to the ground. "He never moved again," Clark recalled. Although Clark said he did not have a clear view of Perez for about a second before Perez was shot (he said he could only see Officer Jensen from the window after he walked into the store) …. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Two%20Eyewitnesses%20Contradict%20Cop%20in%20Police%20Killing%20_%20East%20Bay%20Express.html).
A second time, Perez pushed Jensen off of him. Upright again and standing several feet apart, the men looked at each other. Jensen drew his gun. “Mr. Perez had his hands out in front of him…. [he] lunged towards me with his arms extended,” Jensen said. “I fired one round.” Twice more, as Perez advanced, Jensen shot him. The officer estimated that the scuffle lasted only one minute from start to finish, when Perez buckled over, stumbled into Uncle Sam’s and died. “I was afraid he was going to take my gun and kill me,” Jensen said. (http://richmondconfidential.org/2014/12/12/inquest-reveals-details-of-richmond-police-shooting/)
From Oscar Grant Committee testimony of Mohamad Delik, store (http://www.oscargrantcommittee.org/static/pedie-video-witnesses_files/mohamad-delik-int.pdf)
MD: The officer gave him a bearhug and Pedie was yelling from pain, screaming maybe 5 times. After the officer allowed Pedie to get up half way, he gave him a bear hug and started squeezing up to 4 or 5 times and it was painful. And then Pedie managed to push the officer up. And the police backed up a few steps and shot him.
FR: So the police stepped back a couple steps and then shot Pedie. How far away would you say the police was when he shot Pedie?
MD: Five feet.
FR: Where were Pedie's hands when the police shot him? – His hands were up in the air.
AS: The main thing: Did Pedie try to reach for the officer's gun in any way?
MD: No, I didn't see him.
AS: His hands, how were they?
MD: They were down.
AS: So, basically, he didn't try to reach for the officer's gun in any way?
MD: No, I didn't see him.
GS: At any time, did Pedie attack the police officer?
MD: Before he got shot, no, he tried to move, he tried to get away.
AS: Basically, before the shoot took place, Pedie was trying to get away from the conflict and tried to avoid any...
FR: How far away were you from this incident.
MD: 10 feet. (indicates distance on sidewalk)
FR: That's only about 6 or 7 feet.
From Oscar Grant Committee testimony of “W (http://www.oscargrantcommittee.org/static/pedie-video-witnesses_files/mohamad-delik-int.pdf)
GS: The cop then gets up and stands up on his feet?
W: Yes. At that point that's when Pedie got up. Where the store door is at, right here. That's where I was pulling out my camera to record, that's when the police pulled out the gun. Right when I pressed record he shot. I didn't get it on my phone. My cousin got it on his.
FR: How far away was the cop from Pedie?
W: About 5 feet.
GS: At any point did you see Pedie have his hands on the ... His hands were up and he said "Please don't shoot!"?
W: Yeah: "Please don't shoot."
FR: How high up were his hands?
W: By his shoulders.
FR: Both hands were up by his shoulders?
From Oscar Grant Committee testimony of Steve Clark, customer (http://www.oscargrantcommittee.org/static/pedie-video-witnesses_files/mohamad-delik-int.pdf)
SC: And he can't get the handcuffs on him. So, I took two steps to the left, inside the store, and I decide to look back out the window. All of a sudden, I see the officer standing up. So Pedie he's still down I guess. All of a sudden I see the officer back up, and I heard the gunshots. BOOM BOOM BOOM.
SJ: Did you see the gunshots?
SC: I couldn't see them because of the potato chip rack. My head... All I seen was him backing up, and I heard the shots BLAH BLAH BLAH.
FR: You said, you couldn’t see the gun, but you could see the officer, you could see the top of the officer?
SC: I could see the top of the officer backing up.
SC: And I could hear the gunshots, BOOM BOOM BOOM. And I said “aw, man, he shot him!”
GS: How many shots did you hear?
SC: I heard three.
SC: And so, but I didn't see Pedie. So I guess Pedie, he had to shoot Pedie while he was coming up. Because I’ve never seen Pedie when the shots were going on. So I said “Ah man he could of shot him in the leg, he should of shot him in the leg!”
FR: Just for the purpose of clarity, how far off the ground... Let's say, can you see three feet off the ground? Anything above three feet? Anything above four feet? Or, anything... how?
SC: I can only see... Five feet.
FR: Anything above five? You can see head, head and shoulder level?
SC: Head and shoulder.
FR: OK. And you couldn’t see Pedie at all? You could only see the cop looking at Pedie? Or where you thought Pedie was?
SC: He was looking, he was looking at Pedie. Because he had to shoot him, he was shooting him!
SC: He was shooting him BLAM BLAM BLAM, looking straight at him.
SJ: Pedie hadn't turned around or anything?
FR: He couldn't see Pedie.
SC: I couldn't see him.
SJ: Oh yeah that's right.
SC: He had to still be on the ground, or he was getting up. Because the officer that was on top of him, Pedie was face down. So he had to get up, and start shooting. Now the angle would tell if Pedie was still down. So umm, I said “oh wow!” And so, one, two, three... Three seconds, I see Pedie coming in the store. He at the door, and he's just wobbling.
DA could not determine beyond a reasonable doubt
“We conclude that not only is it not possible to prove Officer Jensen did not act in self-defense, but the facts and circumstances indicate that the officer acted in lawful self-defense,” Grove wrote. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/No%20Charges%20For%20Richmond%20Police%20Officer%20Who%20Fatally%20Shot%20Man%20Outside%20Liquor%20Store,%20DA%20Says%20It%20Was%20Self-Defense%20%C2%AB%20CBS%20San%20Francisco.html)
“The evidence indicates that Officer Jensen believed that he was faced with the choice of using his weapon against Mr. Perez, or having Mr. Perez use it against him,” Grove wrote, according to the Times. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Richmond%20police%20officer%20who%20fatally%20shot%20Richard%20'Pedie'%20Perez%20won't%20be%20charged%20-%20Richmond%20Standard.html)
The conclusion was based on Jensen's assertion that Perez grabbed the officer's gun during their physical altercation. "The officer said that he believed that he was in a fight for his handgun, and that he shot Mr. Perez before Mr. Perez was able to get the gun from him and use it against the officer," reads a report written by Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Barry Grove that was addressed to Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus. "No information was developed which would refute the officer's description of the events. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Two%20Eyewitnesses%20Contradict%20Cop%20in%20Police%20Killing%20_%20East%20Bay%20Express.html)
For his part, Deputy District Attorney Barry Grove, who oversaw the investigation, maintains that Clark and Delik's accounts do not refute Officer Jensen's version of the events. Grove said in an interview that, according to his records, Clark told investigators that he walked by the fight and "couldn't tell one way or another whether Perez grabbed the officer's gun." (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Two%20Eyewitnesses%20Contradict%20Cop%20in%20Police%20Killing%20_%20East%20Bay%20Express.html)
Grove also noted that in order to prosecute Jensen, Delik's account must prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the officer wasn't acting in self-defense. "Delik not seeing Perez grab the officer's gun is as useless as me saying I didn't see Perez grab the officer's gun," Grove argued.( file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Two%20Eyewitnesses%20Contradict%20Cop%20in%20Police%20Killing%20_%20East%20Bay%20Express.html)
Grove added that no other information was developed that would refute the officer’s description of events, but Burris said witnesses at the scene are willing to testify that Perez was holding his hands up when he was shot. Burris said Perez was “highly intoxicated” when Jensen approached him and he initially complied with the officer’s orders to sit on a bench. Burris said Perez knew he hadn’t committed any crime when the officer tried to stop him. He was getting up to leave when Jensen tried to stop him and the two men tussled on the ground. Jensen was on top of Perez and Perez was trying to get out from under him and was in the process of getting up when Jensen shot at him, Burris said. “He had his hands up … He did not in any way reach for the officer’s gun and several witnesses will make statements to that effect,” Burris said. He said that although no other officers were there, Jensen could have deployed his K-9 for assistance or used other non-lethal methods to restrain Perez, including pepper spray or a Taser. Burris said his clients haven’t asked for monetary compensation in the civil suit but are looking for accountability. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/No%20Charges%20For%20Richmond%20Police%20Officer%20Who%20Fatally%20Shot%20Man%20Outside%20Liquor%20Store,%20DA%20Says%20It%20Was%20Self-Defense%20%C2%AB%20CBS%20San%20Francisco.html)
Some in the victim’s family wondered why the officer failed to use his Taser or nightstick to subdue Perez. The family retained a civil rights lawyer, who has threatened to sue the city. (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Police%20Violence%20Is%20Not%20Inevitable%20%20Four%20Ways%20a%20California%20Police%20Chief%20Connected%20Cops%20With%20Communities%20by%20Steve%20Early%20%E2%80%94%20YES!%20Magazine.html)
That account conflicts with Perez’s family’s version of the story. Civil rights attorney John Burris, who is representing Perez’s family in their lawsuit against the city, contends Perez had committed no crime prior to the struggle and was “about five to six feet from Jensen when the officer drew his gun and fired,” the Times reported. The suit says Perez’s final words were “don’t shoot.” (file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Richmond%20police%20officer%20who%20fatally%20shot%20Richard%20'Pedie'%20Perez%20won't%20be%20charged%20-%20Richmond%20Standard.html)
Burris said that soon after the incident, his office interviewed many of the witnesses at the scene, including Delik and Clark, and that these witnesses all saw different aspects of what transpired. Burris said that each witness consistently supports the assertion that Perez never grabbed the officer's gun. "It seems that the officer overreacted," Burris said. "This is a situation where an officer created a conflict and then shot his way out of it." And Delik's version of the story, Burris emphasized, has remained consistent in his version of what happened from the beginning. Delik told the same story he told me to the Contra Costa Times, in a report published last week that did not include an interview with Clark. file:///U:/City%20Council%202016/Perez/Two%20Eyewitnesses%20Contradict%20Cop%20in%20Police%20Killing%20_%20East%20Bay%20Express.html
Oscar Grant Committee piece (http://www.oscargrantcommittee.org/pedie-video-witnesses).
Will Police Commission Investigate?
Where is Justice in Pedie Perez's Death?