Henry K. Lee, 02/23/12
A man shot and wounded by Oakland police over the weekend is a cousin of Oscar Grant, the BART passenger killed by a police officer in 2009, and was unarmed when he was shot in the back, his attorney said Wednesday.
Tony Jones, 24, was shot once in the back by an Oakland officer on the 2000 block of 62nd Avenue in East Oakland about 11:45 p.m. Sunday after he ran from a van that police had stopped, according to police and Jones’ attorney, Waukeen McCoy. Jones is being treated at Highland Hospital in Oakland.
Police have said Jones was armed with a gun, but McCoy said that was not true. Jones ran because he saw a police car behind him and “thought they were coming up too close to him,” McCoy said.
Police previously said a gun had been found at the scene. The officer who shot Jones has not been identified.
McCoy said Jones’ mother is an aunt of Grant, the 22-year-old Hayward man who was unarmed when he was shot in the back and killed by then-BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland on New Year’s Day 2009. Grant was one of several men whom police had pulled off a train in connection with an onboard fight.
Mehserle said he had been trying to use his Taser shock weapon in arresting Grant but had drawn and fired his service pistol by mistake. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after a jury rejected a charge of murder.
John Burris, an attorney for Grant’s family, confirmed that Grant was related to Jones but said the two men had not known each other.
Still, said McCoy, Jones “knows what happened to his cousin, Oscar Grant, and he is a young guy. He’s 24 years old. Maybe he wasn’t thinking properly by running, but that does not give them the right to use unreasonable force to shoot him in the back.”
The officer’s attorney, Joseph Lucia, said Jones had a gun in his hand while being chased, and the officer “felt as though the suspect was going to use the gun” and fired. Jones did not fire his gun, Lucia said.
Officer Johnna Watson, an Oakland police spokeswoman, said she could not comment because numerous investigations of the shooting are under way. Police previously said an officer pulled over the van in which Jones was a passenger because it was suspected of having been used in a robbery.
McCoy countered that Jones “had nothing. They claim he was part of some robbery, but they didn’t find anything on his person, no money, nothing.”
But Watson said Jones has been arrested on suspicion of robbery and three weapons violations, including being a felon in possession of a gun.