4 Oakland Officers Who Fatally Shot Man Last Year Have Been Placed on Leave

The Oakland Police Department said on Thursday that four officers who fatally shot a homeless man with mental health issues a year ago have been placed on administrative leave.

However, the department didn't explain why it took that action against Sgt. Francisco Negrete and Officers William Berger, Brandon Hraiz and Craig Tanaka, saying, "At this time the department will not be discussing any additional details."

Michael Rains, an attorney for the union that represents Oakland police officers, couldn't immediately be reached for comment on the matter.

The department's action comes a week after it released documents showing that its federal monitor, Robert Warshaw, criticized police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick's decision to only impose light discipline against the officers for firing 12 shots at 32-year-old Joshua Pawlik in the 900 block of 40th Street at about 7 p.m. on March 11, 2018.

Warshaw also said he believes the officers overreacted to slight movements by Pawlik.

Oakland police said a large number of officers were dispatched after they received reports of an armed, unconscious man lying between two houses.

Police said Negrete, Berger, Hraiz and Tanaka shot Pawlik because he ignored repeated commands to take his hand off the gun and when he began to move he posed an immediate threat with the risk of death or serious bodily harm.

But Warshaw said in his Feb. 19 report made public last week that Pawlik's movements, as seen on a video of the incident, "do not coincide with the movements to which the officers claim they reacted."

Warshaw wrote, "Mr. Pawlik roused to consciousness, and the video shows his actions to be consistent with someone who was waking up and attempting to orient himself. He was moving minimally."

Warshaw said, "He was a live human being -- and any reasonable officer should not have expected him to remain perfectly still."

Warshaw wrote, "Mr. Pawlik's slight movements did not constitute intent and a reasonable officer should not have concluded such."

The monitor also said the investigations by the Oakland Police Department's internal affairs unit and its use-of-force review board were "deficient" and Kirkpatrick's summary of the shooting was "deficient and myopic."

Warshaw's concerns about the way Kirkpatrick and her department investigated the shooting prompted him to ask U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick, who is overseeing court-mandated reforms to the Oakland Police Department, to appoint an outside investigator to look into the shooting.

Orrick granted Warshaw's request and two weeks ago he appointed San Francisco criminal defense lawyer Edward Swanson, who has investigated two other Oakland police controversies, to investigate the shooting.

Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris filed a wrongful death on behalf of Pawlik's mother Kelly Pawlik last month, alleging that officers had no justification for shooting Joshua Pawlik multiple times because he didn't point a gun at them or threaten them in any way.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley issued a report last week saying that an investigation by her office concluded that "the evidence does not support criminal charges being filed" against the four officers who shot Pawlik.

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