OAKLAND, Calif. - Bay Area police departments have paid out millions to people injured and killed by officers. KTVU requested public records seeking just how much money damages for excessive force and wrongful death was paid by the Bay Area’s largest law enforcement agencies from 2015 to the present.
The analysis shows that for the most part, agencies that have been under major reforms over the last decade or more, such as Oakland and San Francisco, paid out significantly less than departments with no oversight, such as the Alameda County Sheriff and Vallejo police.
Here are some of the notable cases:
NO OVERSIGHT: Alameda County Sheriff paid $27.6 M, which adjusts to about $27,000 per deputy
Christian Madrigal’s parents, Jose Jaime and Gabriela Covarrubias, received $5 million in October. Their 20-year-old son was suffering a mental health breakdown and they called 911 for help. Fremont police said Madrigal was resisting their commands and they brought him to Santa Rita Jail in a WRAP. Deputies decided to chain Madrigal to a cell door instead and left him there for several hours. He ended up hanging himself on the chains he was provided and dying at the hospital in June 2019. The lieutenant at the jail was ousted but not criminally charged.
Dat Thanh Luong
Widow Ai Qiong Zhong was paid $4.7 million after the death of her husband, Dat Thanh Luong, who suffered from schizophrenia and was killed at Santa Rita Jail in 2016. Her suit claimed that the jail failed to protect him and that they didn’t move him to Napa State Hospital in a timely manner. (Zhong’s attorneys say the payment was actually $5.1 million.)
Stanislav Petrov received $5.5 million, the highest jury award in Alameda County in the last five years, after video caught Alameda County sheriff’s deputies beating him in a San Francisco alley. He survived the beating.
SOME OVERSIGHT: San Jose police paid out $17.5 million, which adjusts to $18,248 per officer
Hung Lam received $11.3 million - the largest payout in city history - after San Jose police shot him in the back in 2014, paralyzing him from the waist down. His attorneys argued that he was holding a knife but only threatening to hurt himself when the officer, who wasn’t wearing her glasses, overreacted and fired. A jury heard testimony from a retired San Mateo County deputy, who witnessed the shooting and said the officer could have done more to de-escalate the situation. Often payments are higher when a person survives an injury because calculations are done to determine how much that person could have earned if they weren’t injured.
Tony Nunez and Sandy Sanchez received $2.95 million for the death of their son, Anthony Nunez. A federal jury found that two San Jose police officers used excessive force when they fatally shot the 18-year-old during a suicidal breakdown in front of his home in 2016. His parents have since moved to Manteca so they don't have to see the bullet holes in the home where he was killed. They also hold an annual backpack fundraiser in his honor, giving away free school supplies and Know Your Rights brochures to young students of color.
NO OVERSIGHT: Santa Clara County Sheriff paid out $9.07 million, which adjusts for $6,242 per officer
The family of Michael Tyree was paid $3.6 million after the mentally ill man was beaten to death in 2015 by three jail guards, who were also criminally charged. An investigation determined he had been beaten hours before he was found in his cell. Tyree, who was serving time for misdemeanor theft and drug possession, had been housed by himself in a section of the jail reserved for inmates who are in protective custody or have special needs. Three correctional officers were charged with murder in Tyree's death.
Brandon Marshall’s family was awarded $2 million after a deputy shot him in the stomach in 2013. Marshall suffered from mental illness and was acting manic. When deputies arrived, he was holding a key fob, but they thought it was a spike.
NO OVERSIGHT: Vallejo police paid out $6.5 million, which adjusts $60,185 per officer
The family of Ronell Foster received $5.7 million after he was fatally shot in 2018 by police officer Ryan McMahon who originally stopped him on his bicycle for not having the proper headlight. McMahon contended the killing was in self-defense after Foster, 33, grabbed his flashlight. But Foster's attorneys said he only grabbed the flashlight after he was shocked by a stun gun. McMahon fired seven shots from his gun, some of which hit Foster in the back. "What Mr. Foster did is what anyone would do in a similar situation like that when you are mercilessly being beaten to death," civil rights attorney Adante Pointer said. McMahon has since been fired.
Carl Edwards was paid $750,000 after he suffered a "brutal, unprovoked police beatdown" in 2017. Police got a tip that Edwards had been shooting a slingshot in the neighborhood at children. Police tackled him to the ground, sat on his neck and struggled with him, but it turned out, he was not the suspect. "This is one of the most brutal, unprovoked police beatdowns I’ve seen in almost 30 years of practice," Edwards attorney, Michael Haddad, said.
SOME OVERSIGHT: BART police paid out $5.4 million, which adjusts to $27,000 per officer
A federal jury awarded the family of Sahleem Tindle $6.34 million after he was fatally shot during a 2018 struggle with a BART officer. Police said he had a gun, but his family said that the officer shot him while his back was turned.
NO OVERSIGHT: Hayward police paid out $3.6 million, which adjusts to $29,134 per officer
The son of Roy Nelson received $999,000 after police placed the 42-year-old in a restraint during a mental health crisis in 2015. His family had called for a transport to the hospital. Police ended up waiting in a parking lot for paramedics instead of driving him there. Nelson started having a panic attack and kicked at the patrol car windows. Police restrained him in a WRAP and knelt on his back while he cried out, "I can’t breathe." He died at the scene.
STRONG OVERSIGHT: Oakland police paid out $3.02 million, which adjusts to $3,813 per officer
The mother of Joshua Pawlik was awarded $1.4 million in a settlement with Oakland. Pawlik was passed out with a gun in his hands in front of an Oakland home in 2018. When he came to, his arm twitched with the gun in his hand. Police surrounded him in a Bearcat and used the military vehicle as a perch from which to fatally shoot him. Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick cleared the shooting as justifiable. The federal monitor and Oakland Police Commission disagreed, with the latter body firing her. The officers involved were also sent termination letters. The police commission is drawing up new Bearcat policies and banned the purchase of a second one.
The family of Demouria Hogg was paid $1.2 million after Oakland police shot and killed him in 2015. He was in a BMW a few blocks away from Lake Merritt when firefighters saw him asleep inside his running car and called police because there was a gun on the passenger seat. Police said they thought he reached for his gun and they killed him.
OVERSIGHT: San Francisco police paid out $2.6 million, which adjusts to $1,319 per officer
San Francisco police paid the mother of Mario Woods $400,000 after police shot and killed the 26-year-old in 2015. Five officers shot Woods 20 times when he was encountered holding a knife on a city street. Woods was suspected of having committed a stabbing. Much of the altercation was recorded in cellphone video that was widely seen. The Department of Police Accountability concluded that the officers used "unnecessary force," but they will not be disciplined.
NO OVERSIGHT: San Francisco Sheriff’ Department did not comply with the request
NO OVERSIGHT: The CHP Golden Gate Division paid out $2.5 million, which adjusts to $2,312 per officer
NO OVERSIGHT: San Mateo County paid out $2.49 million, which adjusts to $3,112 per officer
SOME OVERSIGHT: Richmond police paid out $1.67 million, which adjusts to $9,463 per officer
Richard "Pedie" Perez
The family of Richard "Pedie" Perez, was awarded $850,000 after he was fatally shot by a Richmond police officer during a confrontation in front of Uncle Sam’s Liquors in 2014. Richmond's Citizen Police Review Commission sustained a complaint that excessive and unreasonable force was used against the 24-year-old. Multiple investigations have cleared the officer, but the family believes those were flawed and one-sided.
NO OVERSIGHT: Contra Costa County paid out $1.48 million, which adjusts to $2,114 an officer
The Contra Costa County Sheriff paid Brian Hofer, an East Bay privacy advocate, $49,500 after deputies stopped him and his brother at gunpoint in 2019 because license plate readers flagged him as a car thief. He wasn’t injured but he claimed the stop was excessive.
Gross amounts of Bay area wrongful death/excessive force police payouts from 2015 to 2020
- Alameda County Sheriff $27.6 million
- San Jose police $17.5 million
- Santa Clara County Sheriff $9.07 million
- Vallejo police $6.5 million
- BART police $5.4 million
- Hayward police $3.26 million
- Oakland police $3.02 million
- San Francisco police $2.6 million
- CHP Golden Gate: $2.5 million
- San Mateo County $2.49 million
- Richmond police $1.67 million
- Contra Costa County Sheriff $1.48 million
- Fremont police $699,393
Bay Area police payouts per officer from 2015 to 2020
- Vallejo police $60,185 per officer
- Hayward police $29,134 per officer
- Alameda County Sheriff $27,600 per officer
- BART police $5.4 million $27,000 per officer
- San Jose police $18,248 per officer
- Richmond police $9,463 per officer
- Santa Clara County Sheriff $6,242 per officer
- Oakland police $3,813 per officer
- Fremont police $3,500 per officer
- San Mateo County Sheriff $3,112 per officer
- CHP Golden Gate $2,312 per officer
- Contra Costa County Sheriff $2,114 per officer
- San Francisco police $1,319 per officer