By Cindy Chen
CORRECTION: No lawsuit has been filed yet in connection to the Aug. 18 police shooting in Martinez, Calif. Incorrect information was provided in a statement provided to the Vanguard by a publicist. A claim was filed against the city today – a necessary pre-step to a lawsuit.
OAKLAND, CA – A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed here Friday in connection to the Aug. 19 shooting of Tahmon Wilson and Tommy Wilson, Jr., by Martinez police officers, according to a statement released by Oakland-based Civil Rights Attorney Adanté Pointer, of Pointer and Buelna, Lawyers For The People, representing the family of the brothers.
Tahmon was killed and Tommy was recently released from the hospital after sustaining life threatening gunshot injuries, said Pointer. Allegedly, the brothers, 20 and 22, were fleeing from a cannabis dispensary when a barrage of bullets was discharged from behind their vehicle.
“We are moved today to refute the incomplete and misleading accounts provided by the police regarding this horrific incident. We are calling for Martinez Police to immediately release all body-worn camera video of this incident, so the family and the public can review how these four officers used deadly force,” said attorney Pointer.
The plaintiffs’ attorney charged, “Our clients were unarmed and have not been accused of any crime. Notably, Tommy was explicitly informed by police that he would face no charges in connection with the incident, and was issued a certificate to that effect.”
“(T)here is no reasonable or lawful explanation for the lethal force employed by the four officers involved. We welcome the California Department of Justice investigation under AB1506, which mandates state intervention in all fatal police shootings of unarmed civilians,” added Pointer in her statement.
Pointer maintained, “State law prohibits using deadly force against a fleeing vehicle that does not pose an immediate threat,” noting the Wilsons were driving away when “officers opened fire, hitting Tahmon in the back of his head and Tommy in his back, twice. By firing into a vehicle that was moving away from them, the officers took Tahmon’s life and severely injured Tommy for reasons that remain inexplicable.”
The family attorney called on “Martinez Police and/or California Attorney General Rob Bonta to release the videos now, and not delay providing this information to a grieving family who are looking for answers. The public has a right to see for themselves the circumstances surrounding this senseless loss of life and wounding of yet another young man.”
Added Pointer, “Releasing these videos is imperative for the sake of transparency, justice, and enhancing public trust in the police. We also expect that the officers will also face a rigorous internal investigation to determine whether their actions violated department policies.”
“Tahmon’s death, and Tommy’s near fatal wounding, is not only a tragedy for their family but also an affront to the principles of justice, fairness, and equality that we all hold dear. We will not rest until the full truth is revealed and those responsible are held accountable,” said Pointer.