Five Oakland police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a homeless man last year have filed a lawsuit to fight the city’s intention of ending their employment.
Francisco Negrete, William Berger, Brandon Hraiz, Craig Tanaka and Josef Phillips were involved in the shooting of 32-year-old Joshua Pawlik in the 900 block of 40th Street on March 11, 2018. The Oakland Police Commission recommended that the city fire the officers, despite the findings of six separate investigations into the incident that deemed their use of force as lawful.
The five officers claim that the commission’s decision is a politically charged violation of the investigation and discipline process established in the City Charter and Municipal Code. “These officers were investigated, exonerated and then unjustly fired. It is disappointing that these officers have to go to court to force our employer to follow its own rules and do the right thing,” said Barry Donelan, the president of Oakland Police Officers Association.
Robert Warshaw, the police department’s court-appointed federal monitor, said last month that he stands by the commission’s recommendation, saying Pawlik’s movements in as seen in video of the incident “do not coincide with the movements to which the officers claim they reacted.” The officers are seeking official exoneration of misconduct allegations and monetary compensation for attorney fees and costs of the lawsuit.