By Riya Bhattacharjee and Jodi Hernandez 6/8/15
The family of a Hayward man shot and killed by an Oakland police officer during a confrontation over the weekend is questioning the use of deadly force.
Oakland police and the Alameda County Coroner’s office on Monday identified the man as 30-year-old Demouria Hogg, who was spotted asleep inside a stolen car Saturday near the Lakeshore Avenue off-ramp from Interstate Highway 580, with a gun on his seat.
Police are investigating whether Hogg actually used the gun at any point during the confrontation with officers. Steve Betz, the attorney representing the officer who pulled the trigger, told NBC Bay Area his client was simply trying to protect herself. He said the officer acted according to a tactical plan police had set up for the team of officers, which had them approach the car after Hogg woke up but wouldn’t get out.
“I feel they did everything they possibly could to avoid using force on this person,” he said. But Hogg’s family isn’t buying that explanation.
Police are also questioning the 12 officers who were present at the scene and reviewing footage from their body cameras to determine what happened.
Oakland police received a call from the Oakland Fire Department at 7:37 a.m. Saturday about an unresponsive driver who was spotted asleep at the wheel of a 2005 silver BMW with a loaded gun in the passenger seat. According to police, uniformed patrol officers, a sergeant and lieutenant responded to the scene, using bullhorns and bean bag rounds for over an hour to wake him up.
Officers also approached the car and used a metal pipe to break the passenger side glass in an attempt to get Hogg’s attention, police said. They confirmed the presence of a firearm inside the car.
Hogg finally responded and upon further contact a confrontation occured leading to one officer deploying a Taser and another officer discharging a firearm, striking him, police said. He was transported to Highland Hospital by paramedics, where he was pronounced dead. Officers found a loaded handgun with an attached illegal extended magazine in the car, which was reportedly used in a burglary Friday night in San Francisco.
“One person was assigned to lethal cover, one person assigned to a Taser, one person assigned to take the person out of the car and one person assigned to break the window out,” Betz said. Betz said Hogg lunged toward his gun, and Betz’s client, the officer assigned to use lethal force if needed, felt she had no choice but to shoot, firing two rounds at him. “She immediately felt he was reaching for that firearm, she felt she needed to act in that moment,” he said.
The 28-year-old female officer who pulled the trigger has been on the force for a year and a half. But Betz said she was fully trained. “It was a very emotional tough thing to go through for her,” he said. “She did her job well, she did it as she was supposed to do it.”
But Hogg’s family isn’t satisfied with the police officer’s story. “He was not a violent person,” said Tyleana Livingston. “If anything, my baby daddy had a weapon on him to protect himself in Oakland, California period.”
Hogg’s children, 10-year-old Damaria and her eight-year-old brother say they can’t understand why police shot and killed their father. “My dad was a nice guy, and when we asked for something he would say ‘sure,'” Damaria’s brother said. “I want my dad to know I love him and I want him to watch over me.”