Oakland police place officers in Pawlik shooting on leave

OAKLAND — In a stunning move, four Oakland police officers
involved in the fatal shooting of a homeless man they claimed
pointed a gun at them last year were placed on administrative leave
on Tuesday, and sources said they face termination proceedings.

The move came less than a week after the release of documents
showing the department’s federal monitor, Robert Warshaw, ripped
Chief Anne E. Kirkpatrick’s decision to lightly discipline the
officers involved in the shooting of
Joshua Pawlik
, 31, on March 11, 2018, despite the
recommendations of a department review board which called for
harsher punishment.

Sgt. Francisco Negrete and officers William Berger, Brandon
Hraiz and Craig Tanaka were placed on “administrative leave,” a
police spokesperson said Tuesday night. “At this time, the
department will not be discussing any additional details.”

Monitor Robert Warshaw strongly criticized Kirkpatrick last week
for not meting out tougher discipline out in documents released
under the state’s new police transparency law, Senate Bill 1421,
calling her thinking on the matter “disappointing and
myopic.”

A spokesman for Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf declined comment
Tuesday night. Neither did a lawyer for the officer’s union, the
Oakland Police Officers’ Association.

Last week, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley
released a report in which she found the officers didn’t commit
any crimes in Pawlik’s death, a finding in nearly all
officer-involved shootings, although a Stanislaus County
Sheriff’s deputy faces
manslaughter charges
in shooting death of a woman in 2017.

Joshua
Pawlik who was shot and killed by four Oakland Police officers on
March 11, 2018. (Pawlik family) 

Administrative actions for policy violations in a shooting death
like the four Oakland officers are facing are also rare in
California.


The officers
found Pawlik asleep in an alley between two houses
on the 900 Block of 40th Street on March 11, 2018.

In
videos released last year
, officers can be heard shouting
commands at him such as “take your hand off the gun” and
“don’t move!” before Pawlik stirred.

One video, filmed from a camera placed atop a police vehicle,
captures a view of Pawlik apparently waking up around 7:05 p.m. as
officers yelled “Don’t move! Put your hands up! Hands off the
gun!” A moment later, as Pawlik shifted and rose, police fired 22
shots before grabbing shields and heading over to him to begin
life-saving measures.

Kirkpatrick, in
documents released last week
, said nothing contradicted
officers’ claims that Pawlik raised his weapon.

But records show Warshaw was clearly displeased about internal
affairs investigators’ failure to challenge officer statements he
said were at odds with some video footage captured at the
scene.

Investigators ignored body-camera footage from a sergeant “who
had the foresight to place his camera on the armored vehicle”
allowing for an “unobstructed view.” He also accused
investigators of using leading questions to justify the
shooting.

“I reject the Chief’s principal conclusions in this
matter,” Warshaw bluntly concluded in an internal letter dated
Feb. 19.

Oakland Police Officers Association lawyer Michael Rains said
the case has become politicized.

“When this happens, bad decisions are made contrary to facts
and established law.” he said. “I’m confident that these
officers, based on my knowledge of what happened, are going to
retain their jobs.”

In February, Pawlik’s mother, Kelly Pawlik, retained famed
civil-rights attorney John Burris to represent her in a
civil suit filed last month
seeking a jury trial and alleges
that officers violated her son’s civil rights.

Reached for comment Tuesday night, Burris declined to comment.
saying he was not in position to comment on any actions by the
department.

Jim Chanin, an Oakland civil rights lawyer who, like Burris, is
involved in the federal monitoring of the department, which has
dragged on for 16 years, said the Pawlik shooting is a blow to that
process.

“I am very disappointed,” he said. The department is
“going steadily backwards.”

The story was first reported by Oakland freelance journalist
Darwin BondGraham in a tweet.

Staff writer Harry Harris contributed to this report.

Source: FS – All – Interesting – News 2
Oakland police place officers in Pawlik shooting on leave