OAKLAND, Calif. - The California Highway Patrol has settled a lawsuit for $7 million after officers shot and killed Erik Salgado and injured his girlfriend, renewing calls for the new Alameda County District Attorney to file criminal charges.
One of the Salgado family lawyers, Ben Nisenbaum, said the deal was approved on Tuesday.
"This was a bad shooting that shouldn't have happened," Nisembaum said.
CHP officers had been pursuing Salgado after they say he had stolen Dodge Charger in San Leandro on June 6, 2020. The CHP said that during the chase, Salgado struck two patrol cars. His family attorneys said he wasn't trying to harm them, he was trying to flee the scene.
Officers fired 40 times at Salgado, 24 of which hit him directly. Most of the shots were fired from the back.
The 23-year-old died at the scene.
His girlfriend, Brianna Colombo, who was in the car, was injured.
Both Salgado and Colombo were unarmed.
Last year, then-District Attorney Nancy O’Malley found the CHP officers did not break the law when they shot into Salgado and Colombo’s car.
The Salgado family hired attorneys Nisenbaum and John Burris. The Colombo family hired Jim Chanin.
"This is one of the most outrageous, completely wanton shootings that I have ever seen or heard about in my entire career as a civil rights attorney," Chanin said.
Relatives have been extremely vocal about getting justice for Salgado and they've held multiple protests and rallies since his death.
They have asked DA Pamela Price to relook at the case and file criminal charges against the CHP officers. So far, she has not done that or indicated that she will.
"Why is it that police cases get settled with money and never criminal charges?" asked Salgado's sister,Amanda Majail-Blanco. "This settlement will not bring my brother back, and our tax money will continue to be funneled to the same institution that caused us harm."
Chanin said he doesn't think the dollar amount will necessarily change the way the CHP does business, but he does believe that criminal charges would.
"Well, I think the most effective thing would be for the district attorney to take a hard look at this, because that would make an impact," he said.
This is a large sum, but not the highest CHP wrongful death payout.
In May, the CHP agreed to pay $24 million to the family of a Burbank man who was killed when several officers piled on top of him and restrained him during a traffic stop.
That amount is thought to be the largest police brutality settlement in California.
KTVU reporter Henry Lee contributed to this report.