The family of a San Lorenzo man who was fatally shot by Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies at his home in February has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that deputies knew he was disabled but still created a conflict that resulted in his death.
Sheriff’s officials said deputies fatally shot 60-year-old David Goins at his home at the corner of Paseo Grande and Via Toledo in San Lorenzo at about 10 p.m. on Feb. 17 after he assaulted deputies who were trying to put him in an ambulance and then swung a baseball bat at them.
But in a suit filed on Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the widow and three sons of 60-year-old David Goins said Goins, a retired mechanic, was recovering from brain hematoma and manifested “obvious, disabling neurological deficits” and deputies knew he was disabled because they had been called to his home “on numerous occasions.”
Goins’ family members said his wife called for an ambulance that night because Goins was having chest pains but after paramedics arrived he decided that he didn’t want to go with them to the hospital, pushed away from a paramedic and went back inside his house.
The paramedics then called the sheriff’s office to ask that deputies come to the scene because Goins had resisted them and also asking that a welfare check be performed on him, according to the suit.
Goins’ wife, Belinda Goins, locked the door behind her after deputies ordered people to leave the house, but deputies pushed her aside, forced entry into the home by ramming the door open and shot Goins “at least nine times without warning,” the suit said.
Goins was pronounced dead at the scene.
Oakland attorney John Burris, who filed the suit on behalf of Goins’ family, said today that he’s not sure if Goins attacked deputies with a baseball bat but he alleged that deputies “created the conflict” by illegally entering his home even though they knew that he was mentally impaired.
The suit says Goins “was lawfully in his own home and presented no threat to anyone while he was there even if left unattended prior to being shot and killed.”
The suit seeks unspecified damages from Alameda County and Sheriff Greg Ahern.
Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson couldn’t immediately be reached for comment today.
After the incident, Nelson said when deputies entered Goins’ home and found him, Goins emerged with a baseball bat and hit one of the deputies, hitting the deputy’s rifle and disabling it.
The deputy then pulled out his handgun and he and the other deputy then fired shots at Goins, killing him, Nelson said.
The deputy who was struck by Goins suffered a bruise on his arm, according to Nelson.
He said that before the shooting deputies had been called to Goins’ home on 19 occasions since 2011 for various offenses, including domestic violence, psychological issues and intoxication.
According to court records, deputies also went to Goins’ home at about 11 p.m. on July 21, 2001, after receiving a report that he was attempting to kill himself.
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