OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Civil rights attorneys and the parents of 18-year-old Alan Blueford on Tuesday criticized the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office for not prosecuting the Oakland police officer who fatally shot Blueford in May.
Blueford, who was planning to graduate from Skyline High School in Oakland in June, was fatally shot in the early morning hours of May 6 during a chase near 92nd Avenue and Birch Street in East Oakland.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Kenneth Misfud said in an 18-page report made public last week that Officer Miguel Masso “had probable cause to believe that Mr. Blueford posed a threat of serious harm to him and to others present during the incident,” including to dozens of people at a family party nearby.
Misfud said, “The evidence is clear that Mr. Blueford was in possession of a loaded handgun and had the handgun out when he was shot by Officer Masso.”
But attorney John Burris, who represents Blueford’s family in a wrongful death suit they’ve filed in federal court against Masso and the city of Oakland, said Blueford, “may not have had a gun at the time he was killed.”
Speaking at a news conference outside the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse, where the district attorney’s office is located, Burris said he thinks it is suspicious that the gun that Blueford allegedly possessed was found 20 feet away from where he was shot.
Burris alleged that the district attorney’s report was incomplete because it didn’t explain why Blueford’s gun was found that far away from him and because it should have included accounts by several witnesses that Blueford said, “I didn’t do anything” just before or after Masso shot him.
Burris said that statement is “exculpatory” and “no one who was threatening a police officer would say that.”
Walter Riley, an attorney who supports the Justice 4 Alan Blueford campaign, said the district attorney’s report is “biased and unprofessional” and its workmanship is “shoddy.”
Adam Blueford, the 18-year-old’s father, said the report “is character assassination to say the least” and alleged that “Alan was chased and he was murdered.”
Jeralynn Blueford, the youth’s mother, said her son “was murdered by Officer Masso.”
She said her son’s last words were, “I didn’t do anything” and, “Why did you shoot me?”
Riley said the Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition is asking for an independent investigation of Blueford’s death by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office and California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
Coalition members, who have spoken out at several recent Oakland City Council meetings, said they will hold a march and rally in Oakland on Nov. 10 against what they allege is racial profiling by police.
Misfud said in his report that the incident began when Masso and his partner, Officer Joe Fesmire, saw Blueford and two other young men in the 1900 block of 90th Avenue shortly just before midnight on May 5 and noticed that one of the other males moved his right hand toward his waistband as if he were conducting a security check for a firearm.
Misfud said Masso and Fesmire “were extremely familiar with the area they were patrolling and knew it to have a reputation for high gun possession activity and violence.”
The two officers eventually got out of their patrol car and detained the three teenagers and Blueford initially complied with orders to sit down before jumping up and running, according to the report.
Masso said he chased Blueford because he thought he might have a gun and he shouted at the teen 10 to 15 times to stop but he failed to comply, according to the report.
The officer told investigators that Blueford ran for nearly three blocks with his left hand on his jeans and his right hand at his waist, as if he was armed, the report said.
Misfud said that after the shooting a .9-millimeter pistol was found “a short distance” from where Blueford was shot and it had his left thumbprint on its ammunition magazine.
The prosecutor said the gun had been stolen from a peace officer’s home in Mountain House during a residential burglary on Nov. 29, 2011, about 12 miles from where Blueford lived in Tracy at the time.
Misfud also said two civilian witnesses corroborate Masso’s statement that Blueford was pointing a gun at him when Masso shot Blueford.
District attorney spokeswoman Teresa Drenick said her office doesn’t want to comment on the matter aside from what’s in the report.
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