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Independent Investigation Sought After Marin Co. Deputy Shoots Man

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MARIN CITY (CBS SF) — Supporters of Chaka Grayson, the Marin City man who was shot by a Marin County sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop this month, are calling for an independent investigation of the incident.

The Novato Police Department is investigating the July 7 shooting of Grayson by Deputy Evan Kubota on Terners Drive in Marin City. Grayson’s supporters say that it’s a conflict of interest because Kubota’s wife is a Novato police dispatcher.

Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian said Kubota’s wife does work part-time as a Novato police dispatcher, but he said, “Novato police are professionals and will do their job.”

Berberian said his office, not investigators, will make the decision whether charges will be filed in the case, and he called upon anyone who has factual, not hearsay, information about the incident to come forward.

There have been different accounts in the media about what happened, Berberian said.

“We encourage anyone with information to contact our investigator John George at the District Attorney’s Office, (415) 473-6450,” Berberian said.

According to sheriff’s Lt. Jamie Scardina, Kubota was on patrol when saw Grayson’s gold Buick approaching him and pull immediately to the side of the road. The deputy recognized Grayson from prior contacts and knew he had a suspended driver’s license.

Kubota made a U-turn and parked his patrol car behind Grayson’s vehicle, Scardina said. Kubota got out of his patrol car and as he walked toward Grayson’s car, he saw Grayson duck down.

Kubota drew his gun and ordered Grayson to show his hands, but when Grayson accelerated his car toward the deputy, Kubota fired several rounds at Grayson, who was struck twice in the arm, Scardina said.

Kubota was then hit in the head when bystanders threw rocks at him, Scardina said. Grayson drove away from the scene but surrendered to the sheriff’s office at a nearby residence, and he was taken to Marin General Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Grayson then was held in the Marin County jail on a drug-related parole hold pending the filing of charges, but the parole hold was lifted at the request of the Marin County District Attorney’s Office and he was released Wednesday evening, Berberian said.

“The investigation surrounding the circumstances of the shooting is ongoing and it would be premature to move forward with any criminal-related filings until that investigation is completed,” Berberian said.

At a press conference in Marin City Wednesday, Chief Deputy Public Defender David Brown said two attorneys and two investigators are investigating the incident on Grayson’s behalf.

Jonathan Matthews, an attorney and a deacon at the Village Baptist Church Grayson attends, said the shooting is “emblematic of the problem between police and the community.

“This and other events really stirred a nerve. It’s like the clock has been turned back,” Matthews said.

“Let’s not allow this to be the last time that we get together as a community and say, ‘enough is enough.’ Let’s stop it right here,” said Rev. Emmanuel Akognon of the Village Baptist Church in Marin City.

Makini Hassan, the executive director of the Marin City Community Development Corp., said before the shooting Grayson had completed a construction training program and was working as an apprentice with iron workers on the Golden Gate Bridge. She said Grayson had a driver’s license and the community development corporation helped him get auto insurance.

“Chaka is our Trayvon Martin. Chaka is our Oscar Grant,” Hassan said.

When Matthews was asked if Grayson was targeted by police, he said he didn’t know what the deputy was thinking.

“But 10 shots at an unarmed man doesn’t make sense,” Matthews said.

(Copyright 2013 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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