Hayward, CA – Hayward police have been accused of shooting a 17-year-old driver in the back because he is black, then removing bullets from his back by hand before emergency medical personnel treated him, according to a federal lawsuit filed last week.
The unnamed Stockton teenager’s attorney, Adante Pointer, claimed his client just happened to have fallen asleep in the passenger seat of a vehicle that was parked in the area of a looting incident taking place at a CVS pharmacy at approximately 4 a.m. on June 1, The Mercury News reported.
Pointer said his client had been with his cousin in the car, but that he was alone when he woke up.
He claimed that the 17-year-old was confused and scared when he awoke, so he tried to drive away.
Pointer claimed Hayward police shot the teen as he happened to be driving by them, The Mercury News reported.
The teen’s mother, Jael Barnes, told the paper police actually shot her son because he is black.
“I feel like all they saw was a black face and just believed he did [a crime],” Barnes told The Mercury News in June. “Not only does he now have these physical wounds, he has these mental wounds, as well, which will never go away.”
The teen crashed the car after the shooting and tried to hide in a bush, where he was quickly apprehended by officers.
According to Pointer, the officers “took the bullets out and hauled him off to Juvenile Hall. It’s completely inappropriate and fortunately it didn’t cause more severe damage to him.”
“It’s barbaric, the way in which they tried to minimize the harm they caused this young man,” he declared.
Pointer posted a photo of the teen’s alleged gunshot wounds to Twitter on Christmas Eve.
A plethora of Twitter users were quick to point out that the teen’s minor injuries looked nothing like gunshot wounds.
Bodycam from the incident had already been released which showed an officer shooting at the teen with an AR-15. Human skin is generally incapable of stopping bullets from an AR-15.
The attorney’s chain of events outlined in the lawsuit varied wildly from the account the Hayward Police Department (HPD) released shortly after the officer-involved shooting occurred.
The department also released bodycam footage from the incident later the same month.
Hayward Police Chief Toney Chaplin described the entire incident as “chaotic,” and said the bodycam footage didn’t capture much of what occurred.
Chief Chaplin said officers were dealing with “a night of significant looting” on June 1 “that followed a day of peaceful demonstrations,” according to the department’s video release.
Officers responded to the CVS store after receiving a 911 call that people were looting the store and that possible gunshots were heard in the area, Chief Chaplin said.
As police tried to take two men in a parked car into custody, multiple other vehicles started fleeing the area “at a high rate of speed,” according to the chief.
“One of those cars made a U-turn, and drove directly at one of our officers standing outside of his patrol car,” Chief Chaplin said.
The officer believed he was “going to be intentionally hit or killed” by the driver, so he discharged his service weapon “to stop the threat,” according to the chief.
The driver veered away and sped off past him just as a second officer, believing his partner had either been shot or hit by the car, fired his duty weapon at the attacker, Chief Chaplin explained.
He confirmed the 17-year-old suspect crashed and ran off into the bushes, where he was apprehended.
“The diver sustained what was described as a grazing wound by medical staff,” Chief Chaplin said.
The teen was treated and released at a local hospital before being arrested on a charge of deadly assault on a police officer.
According to Pointer, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has already dismissed the charge against his client, The Mercury News reported.
The HPD Internal Affairs Unit and Criminal Investigations Bureau will determine whether or not the officers acted in accordance with department policy during the incident, according to the chief.
Pointer alleged that HPD has a reputation of using excessive force against people for no reason.
“Hayward police have consistently been on my radar, a police department where they sic dogs on people, beat people, shoot people and it rarely catches the public’s attention,” he told The Mercury News. “This is Exhibit A of a police department which seeks to vilify the victim and justify the shooting. The public should be very concerned.”
You can see the bodycam of the incident below. Warning – Graphic Content: