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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons
Killer Cop Injured in OPD SWAT Raid
Cop With Series of Public Abuse Complaints Slightly Injured in SWAT Raid
Sgt. Patrick Gonzales, the cop who brutalized and murdered Gary King, Jr. on the streets of Oakland on September 20, 2007 was slightly injured in the March 21st SWAT team raid in East Oakland.. Despite cries from the public for justice in the brutalization and murder of Gary King, Gonzales was returned to the streets and the public has been little or ill-informed by the police department or the city of Oakland as to the results of any investigation. Was there really an investigation? Gonzales has been the subject of repeated abuse claims by the public and has been involved in several killings and abuse of residents.
This is so typical of the way things operate in Oakland. Abuses are claimed and there is almost never any follow up or information given to the public. The use of personal records and other methods to hide records from the public prevents the public from knowing who may or may not be an abusive cop. This is a cover up.
Add that to the fact that many (how many?) Oakland police do not live in the community, there is a great division between OPD and many of the residents they police. Their families do not live here, they do not go to the schools, shop here to the point that many believe they are more of an invading force than a community police force.
And they say they want community policing. Well, if that is being strangers to the life in a city and trying to hide information from the public – it does not bode well for the relationship.
The loss of life in Oakland is tragic, but unless there is more transparency, more police who reside in the communities they police and slower, more thoughtful responses to problems – the future does not look good.
From the San Francisco Bay Guardian, October 8, 2003:
Back in January 2001, when the prosecution of the Riders was just getting underway, the CPRB heard from an African American teenager from East Oakland named Andre Piazza. Piazza, then 18 and on probation, told the board he'd been beaten down and publicly strip-searched by Officers Patrick Gonzales and Chris Sansome for no apparent reason.
According to a written summary of young man's complaint:
"Piazza said that Officer Gonzales next turned to the front of Piazza's body and 'lifted and was looking under my sacks and stuff.' Piazza confirmed that what he meant was that the officer lifted and felt around under his testicles." The groping, according to Piazza, occurred on the corner of East 23rd Avenue and East 20th Street, at 6:30 on a spring evening as at least one AC Transit bus drove by.
During the search, Piazza asked the officer if he was "fruity." Shortly thereafter, Gonzales reportedly smacked him in the face, dislocating his jaw. Docs in Highland Hospital had to put it back in place. The photos of Piazza taken in the ER aren't pretty.
Despite the photographic proof, charges against the cop were eventually dropped because of a lack of corroborating witnesses – it was Piazza's word versus that of the cops. Talking to investigators, Gonzales and Sansome insisted they didn't strip search or strike the young man.