Civil Rights Attorney Demands Criminal Prosecution for the Shooting Death of an Unarmed African American Man

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John Burris speaking at the Vanguard event in Sacramento in February

Man Was Shot by a Rookie San Francisco Police Officer in the Bayview through a Moving Squad Car Window

“Officer Samayo took careful aim through the sight of his handgun and waited for Mr. O’Neil’s head to come into view. The rookie opened fire with deliberation and premeditation using deadly force without providing Mr. O’Neil a single command to stop or warning that if he didn’t stop he would shoot,” Civil Rights Attorney John Burris said on Tuesday.

Attorney John Burris and his law firm have been retained to represent the mother of Mr. Keita O’Neil, the 42-year old African American man whose “shocking, deliberate targeted murder was inadvertently captured on video.”

On December 1, 2017, Mr. O’Neil was being pursued in the Bayview neighborhood by San Francisco police officers for allegedly driving a stolen van. The patrol car was being driven by a San Francisco Police Department Field Training Officer and his trainee, Christopher Samayoa, who was on day four of field training and was riding in the front passenger seat of the squad car.

As Mr. O’Neil was exiting the van, Mr. Burris explained, “Officer Samayoa took careful aim through the sight of his handgun and waited for Mr. O’Neil’s head to come into view.”

Mr. Burris went on to say “as soon as Mr. O’Neil was lined up with the sight of Officer Samayoa’s gun, the rookie opened fire with deliberation and premeditation.”

Mr. Burris further states “the rookie Officer used deadly force without providing Mr. O’Neil a single command to stop or warning that if he didn’t stop he would shoot.”

Mr. Burris notes, “Mr. O’Neil was unarmed and simply trying to get away and did not pose a threat to the safety of the Officers who were located inside of a closed and moving patrol car when Officer Samayoa made the decision to shoot him in the head.”

He said, “It is shameful that Officer Samayoa’s supervisor did not stop the rookie from aiming his weapon in the closed moving squad car and failed to activate his own body camera.”

Mr.  Burris notes that “Officer Samayoa did not activate his body warn camera until after the shooting, in violation of S.F.P.D. policy” … “Fortunately, the Officer’s camera automatically retains the 30 seconds of footage preceding the camera being activated.” Burris was equally disturbed that “Officer Samayoa’s Field Training Officer never turned on his body worn camera, even after the fatal shooting.”

According to Mr. Burris “this is an example of a poorly trained and negligently supervised San Francisco Police Officer causing fatal injury.” Burris is concerned that “body worn cameras are required by department policy to specifically capture scenarios such as this nevertheless, officers are not facing any consequences when they willfully choose to not turn them on.”

Mr. Burris demands San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon immediately file criminal charges and prosecute Officer Samayoa to the fullest extent of the law.

Mr. Burris is also requesting a federal investigation into the fatal shooting.



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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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