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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons
In midst of Mehserle murder trial, OPD kills Parnell Smith, false statements already emerge
On Wednesday, July 15, two Oakland police officers shot and killed Parnell Smith. After initially claiming Smith had shot at them and was reaching for his waistband, an OPD spokesperson had to admit the day after that his statement was premature. Witnesses added that Smith was seen throwing away his gun before he was shot, prompting some to wonder if Smith had been killed execution style.
I took some pictures of the area where Smith was killed, and of a little memorial put in his name. I tried to talk to some of the people around about what had happened but they all seemed to be afraid to speak. Some asked me not to take any pictures of not only them, but of their business as well. I was left with many questions that I doubt will be answered by the OPD or the two cops that killed Smith. Within hours after the killing, the cops were assigned a lawyer who will undoubtedly work hard. His labor will only insure that the killing of black men by the OPD is normal and part of regular procedure.
What is known is that a relative of Parnell Smith, Ameir Rollins, was shot on June 2006 by Oakland police officer Pat Gonzales, rendering him quadriplegic. Rollins was shot after he dropped a shotgun in accordance with Gonzales’ command. Last year the City of Oakland settled a suit brought by Rollins for $100,000. That incident and the lawsuit brought by Rollins did not prompt the City of Oakland or the OPD to fire Gonzales who on September 20, 2007 shot and killed Gary King Jr. Just as with the shooting of Smith, Gonzales claimed that King was reaching for his waistband.