On his day off as a vacuum Salesman, twenty year old Gary King Jr., was killed on 54th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way by OPD Sgt. Pat Gonzales. It was September 20, 2007, King was returning from a liquor store where he purchased chips and a soda. OPD maintains that King fit the description of a murder suspect. After shooting King in the back, Gonzales handcuffed him. King’s parents arrived on the scene but were not allowed to see him. They were told that Gary’s body was evidence. They saw him six days after his death.
According to the -San Jose Mercury News-, “Police shoot at an average of eight people each year. Oakland police opened fire on at least 117 people during the examined period, hitting at least 88. At least nine were hit in the back and appeared to be fleeing, like King, but officers almost always said they were reaching for weapons. Thirty-nine people were killed.” In most cases where OPD is involved in fatally shooting a suspect, they report that deadly force was justified.
However, that same night King was killed, Officer Richard Coglio, the first cop who responded after the shooting, wrote a different version of events in a police report. Coglio said he was the one to search King, "I conducted a search of King's waistband and pockets. ... I felt the handle and cylinder of a revolver. I advised Sgt. Gonzales," Coglio wrote in a report. Eventually, Coglio repeated that story in a deposition after King's parents sued police. Coglio also testified that Gonzales never warned him that King was armed.
Sgt. Gonzales was involved in four officer related shootings. In spite of his record of misconduct, the OPD has honored and promoted him. In 2007, Gonzales' salary was over $200,000. Additionally, OPD has paid 3.6 million in legal settlement fees for incidents involving Gonzales. Taxpayer dollars that could be better spent.
After Gary King's killing, Cathy King, Gary's mother said, "I had no ambition for my other children but to stay alive."
Gonzales faced no criminal charges for the murder of Gary King Jr.