Four suspects were killed by police across the Bay Area in a span of just 27 hours. It’s a deadly weekend that has some asking whether cops are really doing their jobs to protect and serve.
The latest officer-involved shooting happened in a Hayward parking lot. Police say an officer pulled over a vehicle for reckless driving, but that traffic stop quickly got out of control. Many are expressing concern that officers are overreacting far too often, while others say it’s the criminals who are getting much too bold.
“I don't have a memory of this many police shootings in two days,” civil rights attorney John Burris said. “That's a lot.”
Burris says he's deeply troubled by the Bay Area's rash of deadly officer-involved shootings. On the heels of the ambush killings of two Santa Cruz police officers, four people have been shot and killed by police in just 27 hours, leading some to question whether officers on a heightened sense of alert are overreacting.
“I'm alarmed by it, concerned that we could have a rush of unnecessary police shootings where people are killed under circumstances who should not be killed,” Burris said.
“We as lawyers have now looked at all these shootings and we've said, legally speaking, the officers were literally left with no other alternative but to fire their weapons,” attorney Michael Raines said.
Raines’ law firm represents all of the officers involved in the deadly run-ins. He admits the rash of shootings is unusually high, but he says justified.
“It's a case where I think, for whatever reason, people who carry guns and would-be criminals have become emboldened and have decided that they are going to resist the legitimate commands of the police to do their job and are getting more defiant and more brazen,” Raines said.
Hayward police say that was the case Sunday morning when an officer pulled his weapon and fired at a suspect's car when the officer claimed the driver tried to run him and his passenger over.
“When it happens, it's a situation like this where there was no option,” Hayward Police Sgt. Eric Krimm said. “The driver was driving at him and there was no other type of force that’s going to stop that.” split second decision...no other type of force going to stop that.”
“Just because there's a shooting does not mean it’s justified,” Burris said. “And just because a department says it’s justified, doesn’t mean it’s justified.”
All of the shootings will be closely reviewed by Internal Affairs and by attorneys. Everyone is hoping that the number of officer-involved shootings is just a coincidence and not part of an on-going trend.