HAYWARD (BCN) – A $3.3 million legal settlement was approved Tuesday by Hayward city councilmembers over the police killing of a man holding the blade of a box cutter, attorneys for the man’s family and city officials said.
Agustin Gonsalez, 29, of Lathrop, was hit by multiple bullets fired by Officers Phillip Wooley and Michael Clark of Hayward police. The two officers fired a total of 13 rounds, according to attorneys and police.READ MORE: DA Declines To File Charges In Fatal Shooting Related To Arson Fire That Claimed Father, 1-Year-0ld's Lives
Neither officer will be criminally charged, Alameda County prosecutors said in 2019 after reviewing the case.
“The officers claim that they felt threatened because they believed that Augustin had a knife, but this was disproved when it was determined that he only had a 1/2-inch box cutter blade, which he did not threaten to use against the officers,” said attorney John Burris, who with attorney Ben Nisenbaum, brought the federal civil rights case against the city of Hayward.
Burris also said the officers had a chance to use their Tasers before firing their guns.
Hayward police said that three officers responded to the 24600 block of Oneil Avenue at about 9 p.m., Nov. 15, 2018. Police said they had received a call that a man was brandishing a knife.
The caller said Gonsalez, who was his neighbor’s ex-boyfriend, threatened him with a knife and was acting erratically, according to police. When the three officers arrived, Gonsalez was standing in the street, police said.READ MORE: Family Holds Vigil, Seeks Accountability From Alameda Police Following In-Custody Death Of Mario Gonzalez
One officer got out of his car and from about 10 to 15 feet ordered Gonsalez to drop the object in his hand, police said. The officer repeated those orders as Gonsalez allegedly approached him with the object in his right hand, according to police.
But two officers fired their guns multiple times because Gonsalez ignored the commands and approached the officer at an unsafe distance, police said. Gonsalez died later at a hospital.
Burris said Hayward officials refused to tell Gonsalez’s mother whether her son was dead and/or where the body was.
“This was unforgivable,” Burris said.
Hayward officials said the city admits no wrongdoing in the case even though they are settling it.
The settlement is a way to meet the economic needs of Gonsalez’s two children, according to the city.MORE NEWS: Cyclist Finds Dead Body While Riding Through Sunnyvale Park
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