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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons
Oakland settles with family of Gary King for $1.5 million for murder by Pat Gonzales
Oakland was $80 million short this year, hence the new parking charges and so forth. But here they are paying out $1.5 million and in July they paid out over $650,000 for the murder of Jody Woodfox. Who knows how many other OPD murders were settled with payments this year? And even worse, Gonzales is still on the force!
$1.5 million settlement OK'd in officer-involved death
By Kelly Rayburn
Posted: 09/23/2009 06:50:49 PM PDT
Updated: 09/23/2009 11:00:20 PM PDT
OAKLAND — The City Council on Tuesday night approved a $1.5 million settlement with the family of a 20-year-old man shot and killed by police two years ago.
Gary King Jr. was fatally shot by police Sgt. Pat Gonzales during an altercation Sept. 20, 2007. The city maintained Gonzales believed King had been reaching for a gun, but the killing prompted public outcry from people who believed King was wrongfully killed. The family sued in 2008.
"The amount of the settlement reflects an acknowledgment of the strengths of the family's case against the officer and the gravity of their loss," said Michael Haddad, an attorney for King's family. "Hopefully this will allow the family to begin to have some closure."
Haddad said at least 10 witnesses disputed Gonzales' version of the event. But Bill Simmons, a deputy city attorney, said there were also witnesses who corroborated what Gonzales said — and that the city stood by the officer's assertion that King seemed to be reaching for a gun.
Nonetheless, Simmons said there was a risk to both sides if the case went to a jury and that it made sense to settle.
"We're realistic and saw that there was a risk a jury might not see it our way," he said.
The city did not accept liability by entering into the agreement.
The shooting occurred at 54th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way in North Oakland after King left a convenience store.
In the lawsuit, King's