HAYWARD (KPIX) — Holding signs and chanting “stop killing us,” about 50 protesters rallied outside of the Hayward police department Thursday evening, briefly blocking car traffic on West Winton Avenue in front of the headquarters. They said they were demonstrating against police brutality — including the officer-involved-shooting that occurred Wednesday in Hayward — when officers shot a 61-year-old man in front of his house. It was the second police shooting in Hayward in a week. The demonstrators held signs and chanted “stop killing us.”
Wednesday’s police shooting happened at the corner of Naples Street and Bahama Avenue around 12:45 p.m. Hayward police said multiple people in the neighborhood called 911 to report an agitated man riding in a motorcycle and chasing another man. Investigators said neighbors reported the man banged on doors and acted crazy trying to find the man he was chasing. Police said the two apparently had been involved an argument.
Hayward police said the man, identified by his family as 61-year-old Eric Rosalia, returned to his house and officers caught up with him in his driveway where, they said, he had crashed his motorcycle.
Investigators say that when officers tried to talk to Rosalia, the Hayward native became very angry and started yelling at them. At one point, Rosalia can be seen in police body cam footage walking back toward a garage then coming back out to the driveway holding what could be a knife in his right hand. Shortly after, an officer fired his taser, then other officers fired their guns. Hayward police chief Toney Chaplin said Rosalia lunged at the officers causing them to open fire. The department showed a picture of the knife they said Rosalia was holding.
“Just a whole bunch of chaos. Me screaming. I was freaking out,” said Maria Martinez. Martinez witnessed and recorded the police shooting with her cellphone. Rosalia is her uncle.
“Just the gunshots, just seeing my uncle not posing a real threat and him still being shot and he could’ve died,” Martinez said.
Some neighbors who witnessed the shooting believed the officers acted too quickly.
“I heard taser and bullets go off at the same time and I felt like they didn’t give the Taser enough time (to subdue him before using their guns)” said neighbor Joyce Lugo, a neighbor of Rosalia for about 30 years.
“The second oriented officer is angled directly in a line with the subject and so it’s just a perception thing ,at times, and what they perceive is danger. If I’m standing off to the side, I may perceive something a little different than a person standing directly in front of him,” explained Chief Chaplin when asked why other officers didn’t wait for the Taser to have an effect on Rosalia.
After police shot him, police body cam video shows the man got up, was responsive and talked to the officers.
“He admitted to retrieving the knife and lunging at the officers with the knife. He apologizes and said basically, you know, it was his fault,” said Chief Chaplin.
Police chief Chaplin said Rosalia was released from the hospital Thursday and was immediately taken to Santa Rita Jail. He was booked on assault with a deadly weapon against officers.
Previously, on March 20, Hayward police shot and killed a man. Hayward police haven’t released the circumstances around that shooting. They said the man was wanted in a recent homicide case.