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Judge: 5 officers wrongly shot while killing homeless man

A Northern California judge ruled that five Oakland police officers who fatally shot a homeless man in 2018 were wrongly fired and should have kept their jobs

OAKLAND, California – A judge in Northern California ruled that five Oakland police officers who fatally shot a homeless man in 2018 were wrongly fired and should have kept their jobs.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch said in his ruling Tuesday that City of Oakland employees “improperly tampered with” an outside investigator’s report that originally concluded that the officers were wrongly fired and their Jobs should have kept, the East Bay Times reported Thursday.

Officers fatally shot Joshua Pawlik, 31, on March 11, 2018 in North Oakland. Pawlik was armed and slept in a small room between two houses. Officers roused him from his sleep and said they shot him because he would not put the gun down.

Four of the officers – William Berger, Brandon Hraiz, Craig Tanaka and Sgt. Francisco Negrete – fired guns and Officer Josef Philips shot a beanbag.

Oakland communications director Karen Boyd said in a statement that city officials “have complied with the letter and spirit of the employment contract and believe the court erred in finding otherwise.”

“We remain committed to ensuring due process is afforded to our employees in all disciplinary proceedings,” she added. She did not say whether the city will appeal the decision.

Michael Rains, an attorney representing the officers, said the judge’s decision clears the way for them to either return to work for the Oakland Police Department or be paid retrospectively. It’s not clear what the officers will do, Rains said, adding that most of them now work for other law enforcement agencies.

In 2020, the Oakland City Council agreed to pay Pawlik’s mother $1.4 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit.

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/judge-officers-wrongly-fired-killing-homeless-man-84109295 Judge: 5 officers wrongly shot while killing homeless man

Ari Notis

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