Family of man killed by SFPD demand DA charge involved officers within 2 weeks

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) After meeting with San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon in February, the family of a homeless Mayan immigrant fatally shot by police in the city's Mission District more than two years ago say they're still waiting to find out if Gascon will charge the involved officers.

This morning members of the group Justice 4 Luis rallied outside the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. to demand that Gascon charge the two officers involved in the fatal shooting of Luis Gongora Pat by April 25.

According to the group, when Gongora Pat's family met with Gascon on Feb. 28, Gascon said he would make a decision on whether to charge the officers in six to eight weeks, which is between today and April 25.

"We're starting a countdown today. He has 15 days to make his decision. We're hoping he'll charge the killer cops and if not, were asking, at this point, for his resignation," Adriana Camarena, spokeswoman for the group, said.

According to Camarena, at the meeting Gascon discussed with the family the laws around police shootings, saying that the laws allow officers to use force when they feel threatened, which makes it hard for him to charge officers involved in fatal shootings.

"He's dismissing cases without letting them get to a jury; he's deciding. He's being the judge, the jury, the prosecutor and he's not allowing any police shooting case to make it to a jury and that's not his 
job," Camarena said.

Gascon today said that he never gave a specific timeline for when he would make his decision. While he acknowledged that two years is a long time for the family to wait, he said the investigation is complicated.

"I won't compromise the integrity of an investigation because of a deadline," Gascon said.

However, in a recording of the Feb. 28 meeting between Gascon and Gongora Pat's family posted on www.justice4luis.org, when asked by Camarena for a timeline of when he would reach a decision, Gascon can be heard saying "Probably, I would say, that no more than maybe six to eight weeks maximum."

According to police, on April 7, 2016, officers encountered Gongora Pat, 45, when they responded to a report of a man swinging a kitchen knife on Shotwell Street near 18th Street. 

There, they found Gongora Pat seated on the sidewalk with the knife in his hands and the blade pointed up. They ordered him to put it down multiple times in both English and Spanish, police said.

Gongora Pat apparently briefly put the knife down but then picked it back up, at which point an officer fired less-lethal beanbag rounds at him. Gongora Pat then stood up and ran at the officers with the knife, prompting two other officers to fire seven shots at him, six of which hit 
him, according to police.

Gongora Pat was taken to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital but died a short time later.

The officers who shot at Gongora Pat have since been identified as Sgt. Nate Steger, who has 17 years of law enforcement experience, and Officer Michael Mellone, who has 13 years' experience.

Gongora Pat's brother, Jose Gongora Pat, said today at the rally that Luis Gongora Pat was a hardworking man who initially came to the U.S. to work and help their family most of who still lives in a small town in the Yucatan state of Mexico. He said his family in Mexico remains angry over the 
fatal shooting.

The family has created and donated embroidery works, which their Yucatan village is known for. The embroidery works call for justice for Luis Gongora Pat and will be on display at the Mayan War Room at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts at 2868 Mission St. through the end of the 
month.

"We've already spoken to him, but as of right now it seems like he won't do anything," Jose Gongora Pat said of Gascon. "He doesn't have compassion."

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