By Evan Sernoffsky 11/3/15
The family of a man shot and killed by Oakland police earlier this year after being found passed out in a car with a loaded gun at his side has filed a federal wrongful-death lawsuit against the city, accusing officers of using excessive force during the deadly standoff.
Jamon Hicks, a Beverly Hills attorney representing the family of 30-year-old Demouria Hogg, is seeking unspecified damages from the city of Oakland after the fatal encounter near Lake Merritt.
Hicks helped Hogg’s family submit a legal claim against the city on July 7, paving the way for the lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
Oakland police “negligently assessed the circumstances presented to them and violently confronted (Hogg) without having probable cause,” Hicks wrote in Friday’s filing.
Police said they found Hogg passed out behind the wheel of a BMW on the Interstate 580 off-ramp at Lakeshore Avenue around 7:30 a.m. June 6 with a handgun lying on the passenger’s seat.
For more than an hour, police tried to rouse Hogg. Officers fired beanbag rounds at the car and yelled commands through a loudspeaker for him to surrender.
Eventually, officers smashed his driver’s side window with a crowbar. That’s when police said Hogg reached for his weapon, at which point one officer fired a Taser at him, and another opened fire with her service weapon, killing him.
The incident was the first fatal shooting by Oakland police in two years, sparking outrage and protest in the days afterward. Oakland police officers have since shot and killed three other suspects — two armed with guns and another who bashed an officer in the face with a bike chain.
Hicks said he and Hogg’s family reviewed police body camera footage of the episode, which he said raises questions about whether lethal force was justified.
He told The Chronicle in July that Hogg was “completely knocked out” during the incident and never reached for his weapon.
The suit seeks damages for unreasonable search and seizure, excessive force, interference with familial relationship, false arrest, battery and negligence causing wrongful death.
Police have not revealed the name of the officer who shot Hogg, but her attorney, Steven Betz, has said she was justified in using deadly force.
Last week, the family of Yuvette Henderson filed a federal civil rights complaint against the city of Emeryville after police shot and killed the 38-year-old woman when she allegedly pointed a gun at them. Her attorney, Dan Siegel, claimed Henderson was shot in the back.