From: SF Chronicle
Henry K. Lee, 11/25/11
The Oakland Unified School District is being sued for the second time in federal court for a fatal officer-involved shooting outside a school dance in the Oakland hills.
The new suit, which seeks $10 million in damages, was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Oakland on behalf of Lori Davis and Raheim Brown Sr., the parents of Raheim Brown, and Brown’s daughter, identified only as N.F.H.
LaDonna Smith, the mother of Brown’s son, is suing the district in a separate lawsuit. The district has denied any wrongdoing in response to that complaint.
Brown, 20, of Alameda was shot and killed Jan. 22 by Oakland schools police Sgt. Barhin Bhatt after he allegedly stabbed another schools police sergeant, Jonathan Bellusa, with a screwdriver, authorities said.
The episode happened at 9:15 p.m. as Brown was sitting in the passenger seat of a Honda Accord parked on Joaquin Miller Road, not far from where Skyline High School was having its winter ball at a nearby park. The car’s hazard lights were on, police said.
As Bellusa approached Brown, his partner approached Timesha Stewart, 20, who was in the driver’s seat. The officers smelled marijuana coming from the car, police said.
Brown produced a screwdriver and tried to stab Bellusa, prompting Bhatt to fire through the car at Brown, said Doug Foley, an attorney representing the officers.
The Honda had been stolen that day, and police found a gun in the car within reach of Brown, Foley said.
Davis has said she doubted her son had tried to stab Bellusa with a screwdriver and that even if he did, that still did not warrant deadly force.
The district has not responded to the new suit in court.
Davis said her son may have been trying to use the screwdriver to start the car. Authorities said a screwdriver had been used to start the Honda’s ignition.
School district police patrol campuses and school events. Brown and Stewart were believed to have no connection to Skyline High.
Stewart has been charged with auto theft and possession of stolen property.
Bhatt is a former Oakland park ranger and Union City police officer. Bellusa has previously been involved in a nonfatal officer-involved shooting.