By Helen Shamamyan
OAKLAND, CA – In a preliminary hearing here in Alameda County Superior Court this week, a man was accused by an Oakland police officer of pointing a handgun in the face of the officer as the accused drove by in an active school zone.
The driver was initially mistaken for another male by the officer, and the accused asserts the officer also mistook his actions, which had been directed toward another car that had just hit his vehicle.
Judge Steven Thomas, however, found the accused should stand trial, noting it should be “interesting.”
Deputy Public Defender Joseph Patrick McPeak questioned the validity of the officer’s testimony and memory regarding the events that occurred.
Deputy District Attorney Alexander Hernandez cross-examined three members of the Oakland Police Department on the details of the incident in question.
Around four o’clock in the afternoon on Feb. 3, 2022, Oakland Police Dept. Officer Cameron Parker testified a male drove by him about “15 feet away,” closely tailing a white SUV.
The driver allegedly pointed the firearm at the officer while maintaining direct eye contact before speeding away past a local liquor store.
Officer Parker asserts the driver brandished the weapon in a threatening and deliberate manner, asserting that he “slowed down” the car for about “two to three seconds” before driving away in pursuit of the SUV.
Deputy District Attorney Alexander Hernandez said video footage from the shop was recovered by the police on duty and presented as evidence of the make and distinctive characteristics of the vehicle, which matched the vehicle belonging to the accused, a charcoal Dodge with tinted windows, black decals, and a white cursive-letter sticker on the front windshield.
The firearm was described as a Ruger handgun, black with a silver clip.
The accused was identified as a suspect by OPD Detective Christopher Meyers through a social media search, he said, in which posts were found of a car matching the description provided by Officer Meyers. A search was conducted in the residence of the accused, where a firearm matching the alleged description was obtained in the closet underneath clothing.
The defense questioned the validity of “probable cause” for the search warrant.
The defense argued, despite the matches of the car and weapon in possession of the accused, there are many discrepancies in the events, including an initial doubt about the identity of the accused.
In an “in-person field show-up” Officer Parker identified another man as the suspect in the car before the officer left, before second-guessing his conviction. Officer Parker re-identified the accused from a photo line-up, after which a search warrant was obtained.
The accused admitted he was present at the scene and held a firearm extended toward the passenger window of the Charger. However, he asserts he never pointed it at the police officer, but was instead vying to intimidate the SUV to stop, which had hit him and driven away just a little while before.
Detective Meyers confirmed that the accused placed a 911 call shortly after the incident reporting the “hit and run.”
DPD McPeak describes this as a “chaotic scene” with “lots of distractions” for the witnessing officer.