By David M. Greenwald
Civil Rights Attorney John Burris this week announced he was being retained to represent the family of Danville Police shooting victim Tyrell Wilson, while at the same time, he announced a $3.3 million settlement with the city of Hayward on a 2019 shooting.
Burris told the Vanguard on Thursday that the victim in the Danville case, Tyrell Wilson, was mentally impaired. There is a video in the case that he is hoping gets released.
Tyrell was reportedly shot after a foot chase where the officer believed that Tyrell was throwing rocks from the freeway. After a brief chase, the officer claims that Tyrell approached him with a knife, and the officer shot him once in the face.
Burris said, “Witnesses said the officer shot him when he was not advancing on (the officer).”
“The cop claimed he was,” Burris added.
Wilson died on Wednesday, five days after being shot by Officer Hall.
According to a release from Burris’ office, Wilson’s family is concerned that the officer’s statements are not totally truthful.
They point to the account of an independent witness who disputes the officer’s account.
The witness stated to a local news reporter that Officer Hall chased Mr. Wilson across the street, then Hall and Mr. Wilson got into an argument which led Officer Hall to pull out his weapon and shoot Mr. Wilson after Tyrell made a hand gesture toward Officer Hall.
The witness to the shooting had never met Tyrell Wilson or Officer Hall but stated that Wilson did not advance on Officer Hall as reported by the Danville Police Department.
The Wilsons state that their son has suffered for years with a mental impairment.
According to Burris’ office, this is the second use of deadly force by Officer Hall. Burris represents the family and will be suing the officer and the department for civil rights violations for the prior use of deadly force.
Meanwhile, a press conference was held on Thursday for the family of Augustin Gonzales who was killed on November 15, 2019, in the city of Hayward.
On Tuesday, the Hayward City Council approved the settlement of a federal civil rights lawsuit for the family of Augustin Gonzales for $3.3 million.
Burris explained that Gonzales, Latino, was arguing with another person, they thought that a knife was pulled and the police arrived on the scene.
“In the course of it, the police were in a position to use their taser and chose not to and shot this kid 13 times,” Burris said. “They initially claimed he was attacking him with a knife, it turns out it was a woodcutter… less than a half inch (in length)… and even so he was not threatening the officer with it.”
He said, “The officer tried to claim it was a suicide by cop.” But he said in testimony from witnesses, “the kid said, you’re not going to shoot me, and he shoots him. A bunch of times.”
Burris states, “Augustin’s death has traumatized the family, especially his mother and father. Augustin was their only son.” Burris goes on to say “I hope that the settlement will allow some measure of closure for them.
Augustin’s mom, Karla, said the city officials refused to tell her that her son was dead and/or where his body was located. According to Burris it took the police several days to even tell the family where his body was located.
“This was unforgivable,” Burris told the Vanguard..
She and the family were in a state of emotional turmoil for almost three days, hearing that her only son was shot and perhaps dead, and yet they could not get any information about his whereabouts. Karla said her heart was on fire and is still burning with the anguish of not knowing.
“Not telling the family of his whereabouts or condition for three days was disgraceful, especially when the police knew that Augustin was dead.” Burris said.
Attorney Ben Nisenbaum said “these officers violated basic training standards by using. deadly force when less reasonable alternatives were available such as tasers.”
The family has been a very vocal advocate for Augustin and other victims of police misconduct and have vowed to continue fighting for justice for other families.
—David M. Greenwald reporting
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