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Judge: 5 officers wrongfully fired in murder of homeless man


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

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

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch said in his ruling on Tuesday that City of Oakland employees “improperly manipulated” an outside investigator’s report that initially concluded that officers had been unfairly fired and should have kept their jobs, the East Bay Times reported Thursday.

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

Four of the officers – William Berger, Brandon Hraiz, Craig Tanaka and Sgt. Francisco Negrete – fired shots and officer Josef Philips fired at a beanbag.

Karen Boyd, Oakland’s communications director, said in a statement that city officials “adhered to the letter and spirit of the labor agreement and believe the court erred in finding otherwise. “.

“We remain committed to ensuring that our employees enjoy due process in all disciplinary processes,” she added. She did not say whether the city would appeal the decision.

Michael Rains, an attorney who represented the officers, said the judge’s decision clears the way for them to either return to work for the Oakland Police Department or get back pay. It’s unclear what the officers will do, Rains said, adding that most 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.

ABC News

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