VALLEJO (CBS SF) — A Vallejo police officer is not criminally liable for fatally shooting a man whose metal wallet he mistook for a firearm, according to the county district attorney.
Anton Barrett Sr. was shot on May 28, 2012 after a police pursuit that ended at an apartment complex in the 200 block of Wilson Avenue in Vallejo.
Vallejo police said the 1999 Lexus that Barrett was driving was speeding, did not stop at controlled intersections and failed to yield when officers tried to pull it over.
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Barrett and Officer Sean Kenney encountered each other in between apartments and Kenney told Barrett to put his hands up, Vallejo police said.
Barrett didn’t comply and ran toward the officer, who backed up and told Barrett to show his hands, police said. Barrett reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a dark-colored metal object, and Kenney fired several times at Barrett, police said.
Barrett was shot with a Taser when he tried to get up and he was taken to the John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek where he died.
Vallejo police officers did not find a gun on Barrett but did find a black metal wallet in his sweatshirt pocket, du Bain said. The wallet was black and similar in dimensions to the rear portion of a Glock semi-automatic handgun, du Bain said.
Solano County District Attorney Donald du Bain said Friday it was reasonable to believe Barrett posed a serious risk of harm to Kenney or to others around him when Barrett quickly withdrew the dark metal object from his sweat shirt pocket.
du Bain said Kenney shot Barrett because he “actually and reasonably believed that he and others present at the scene were in imminent danger of being shot resulting in death or serious bodily injury.”
“The events as they unfolded on May 28, 2012 posed an awful dilemma for the officers in this case. No one sought the tragic result that occurred,” du Bain said.
“There is insufficient evidence to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the use of force involved in this incident was criminally unlawful,” du Bain said.
du bain said the District Attorney’s Office would not be able to secure a conviction against Kenney, and the case does not present a basis for criminal prosecution of Kenney.
du Bain resigned Friday as Solano County District Attorney to accept a position with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.
Krishna Abrams, who defeated du Bain in the district attorney’s contest in the June election, was appointed by the Solano County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. She was scheduled to begin her duties on Jan. 5.
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