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Oscar Grant’s Cousin Sues Oakland Police Over Officer Shooting

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Tony Jones, a cousin of Oscar Grant, is suing the Oakland Police Department after he was shot by an officer on February 19, 2012. (CBS)

Tony Jones, a cousin of Oscar Grant, is suing the Oakland Police Department after he was shot by an officer on February 19, 2012. (CBS)

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A convicted felon who was shot and wounded by an Oakland police officer in an incident last month filed a $10 million lawsuit in federal court Wednesday accusing the officer of violating his civil rights.

Tony Jones, a 24-year-old Oakland man, alleges in a civil rights suit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco that Officer Cesar Garcia shot him in the back and Garcia and the city of Oakland violated his constitutional protections against unlawful detention, unlawful arrest and the use of unreasonable force.

The suit, filed on Jones’ behalf by San Francisco attorney Waukeen McCoy, also accuses Garcia of assault and battery and false imprisonment and alleges that Jones suffered from the intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Jones is a cousin of Oscar Grant III, the BART passenger who was killed by a transit agency police officer on Jan. 1, 2009.

Photo Gallery: The Shooting Of Oscar Grant

Jones’ prior convictions include one in 2007 for gassing a peace officer while he was an inmate at a California Youth Authority facility in Amador County. Gassing is defined as throwing urine or feces or a combination of both on a correctional officer.

The incident described in the lawsuit occurred in the 2000 block of 62nd Avenue in Oakland around 11:45 p.m. on Feb. 19.

Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson, who didn’t identify the officer who was involved, said a uniformed officer attempted to stop a vehicle, which had at least two occupants, that was associated with a robbery.

Watson said one of the passengers, later identified as Jones, ran from the vehicle and the officer ran after, discovering that the suspect had a firearm.

The officer then discharged his firearm, striking Jones, Watson said.

Jones received medical attention at the scene and then was taken to a local hospital, she said.

The driver of the vehicle fled the scene and wasn’t caught, according to Watson.

Jones was arrested and charged with armed robbery, being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle and carrying a loaded firearm in public.

McCoy, Jones’ lawyer, said Jones is being held in the infirmary at the county jail in Dublin, is confined to a wheelchair and suffers from bladder problems and other issues such as a bad back, swollen buttocks and a swollen leg.

At this point it’s uncertain if Jones will be able to walk normally again, he said.
Referring to the incident, McCoy said, “After reviewing the police report, it is patently obvious this shooting was unjustified, and that the police department has been working feverishly in an attempt to cover the illegitimacy of the shooting.”

McCoy said he thinks it is “very odd” that Garcia’s brother, Wencesiao Garcia, a fellow Oakland police officer, was the first officer to arrive on the scene after the shooting and remained there for four hours.

He said, “It just does not make sense and it is our opinion that the evidence was tainted and tampered with at the scene.”

Jones’ lawsuit said that when Garcia shot at him he “was unarmed, had threatened no one with harm or made any actions, statements or gestures that could be reasonably interpreted as threatening harm and was clearly running away from Garcia.”

The suit said at the time of the shooting Jones was in front of an occupied, wooden-framed residential building where at least eight women and children were sleeping and at least one round fired by Garcia entered the building.

It alleges that Garcia’s actions “endangered the lives of the innocent bystanders, including a one-year-old baby, who were in that home.”

The suit said Jones “did not have a weapon, did not brandish a weapon and did not place Garcia or anyone else in immediate danger or threat of immediate danger.”

The suit alleges that the city of Oakland was negligent by keeping Garcia on the police force despite its knowledge of his “wrongful and dangerous behavior” in previous incidents, including “his violent tendencies, his propensity to use deadly force without sufficient justification and his pattern and practice of using unnecessary force.”

McCoy said Garcia is under criminal investigation for his involvement in an incident last May 18 in which officers shot and killed two suspects, 30-year-old Antoine Jackson and 23-year-old John Sloan. McCoy said the two men were unarmed.

Watson declined to comment on Jones’ suit Wednesday, referring questions to the Oakland City Attorney’s Office. A spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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