Thursday, October 21, 2010

CA: Oakland settles suit with family of slain youth

The city of Oakland agreed Tuesday to pay $500,000 to settle a federal civil rights suit filed by the parents of a 15-year-old boy who was shot and killed by three gang-unit officers in 2008.

Jose Luis Buenrostro was killed March 19, 2008, at 79th Avenue and Rudsdale Street in East Oakland. Police have said several gang-unit officers shot Buenrostro when he pulled a sawed-off rifle from his sweatpants and pointed it at them.

But in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Jose and Maria Buenrostro said Sgt. Randy Brandwood and Officers Eric Milina and Robert Roche drove up to their son in an unmarked car, stopped and shot him without cause.

Roche has been involved in at least two other fatal police shootings.

In court documents, city officials said the officers were driving on Rudsdale when they saw the youth walking along the sidewalk and apparently fumbling with something in his pants.

They backed up to where he was standing and fired in self-defense when the youth pulled the rifle from his pant leg and pointed it at the officers, who were clad in blue jeans and raid jackets emblazoned with "Oakland Police" on the back, city officials said.

The family's attorney, John Burris, acknowledged that the youth had a rifle in his possession. But he said the teenager, an aviation-school student, never brandished the weapon at police.

"It's a real tragic case," Burris said Tuesday. "The police overreacted, and although he may have had possession of a (rifle), he did not point the gun at the officers. Witnesses said he was putting his hands up when he was shot."

Within a week of the shooting, police took the unusual step of showing a picture of the rifle that the boy was carrying. They said the youth had ties to a street gang.

Original report here

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