Oscar Grant’s cousin shot by Oakland police, disputes police account

My article on the Oakland police shooting of Oscar Grant’s cousin, as published in The Bay Citizen:

An attorney for a man shot by Oakland police Sunday night said today that his client was seriously injured when an Oakland police officer shot him in the back, and challenged the police account of the incident, saying his client was running away and unarmed.

Police said Monday that an officer shot an armed suspect in the 2000 block of 62nd Street after he left a car suspected of being involved with a robbery in the area.

Police said they recovered a firearm at the scene.

But Tony Jones’s attorney, Waukeen McCoy, said that his client was the man shot that night and that Jones denies he was armed and said this afternoon that Jones had not yet been booked on any robbery charges.

“They don’t have any evidence that he committed a robbery anywhere,” McCoy said.

Oakland police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson said that Jones was placed under arrest late this afternoon under suspicion of four felony charges and that those charges would be sent to the district attorney’s office.

Watson said the charges are armed robbery, an ex-felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle and carrying a loaded firearm on a person.

“We did recover a gun at the scene, there’s no dispute about that,” Watson said. She said that if Jones is not well enough to appear in court a judge will arraign him in the hospital.

Jones, whose cousin was Oscar Grant III, the man shot and killed by a BART police officer in 2009, was seriously injured in the shooting and was left unable to walk, McCoy said.

McCoy said that after the traffic stop, Jones left the vehicle he was in and started walking away. The vehicle sped off, and Jones ran across the street.

“When he ran across the street they shot him in the back,” McCoy said.

“The officers could not believe they were in immediate danger because he didn’t brandish a weapon or anything. In fact, he was running away from them so I don’t know why they shot him,” McCoy said.

He said that Jones underwent surgery on Monday afternoon, and is now in stable condition. But, McCoy said, “he has pain everywhere, he can’t walk, he can move his legs but he hasn’t been able to walk or urinate by himself.”

McCoy said that the family hired him to represent Jones on Tuesday, but that when he attempted to visit his client at Highland Hospital, Oakland police and Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies would not allow him to see Jones.

“They wouldn’t let me see him for seven hours yesterday,” McCoy said. “I was dealing with the police department and the sheriff’s department and they prevented me from seeing him.”

He said that during this time Jones was interrogated by Oakland police inspectors despite asking to see an attorney.

Watson said that while police may have initially denied McCoy access to Jones, it was only to verify who McCoy was and whether the family had hired him.

“We just don’t allow anyone to walk in because they say something, we have to take our time to fact-check and verify,” Watson said.

She also said that while Jones was interrogated in the hospital, if at any point he asked for an attorney, “all questioning would cease until

he had legal representation there.”

McCoy said that he intends to file a lawsuit against the city of Oakland unless the city settles the case with Jones.

“We’re planning to file a claim against the city of Oakland for unnecessary and unreasonable use of force,” McCoy said.