Rally held in Hayward for man who died in police custody

A rally and vigil were held outside Hayward City Hall on Monday for a man who died in police custody two years ago.

The family of James “Nate” Greer are pushing for an investigation into his death after video from police body cameras was recently released. Greer died while in police custody on May 23, 2014.

Deana Abello, Greer’s ex-wife, said the family is demanding action from the City of Hayward and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

She said Greer was initially pulled over for driving erratically. He complies with officers at first, but the situation involving Hayward Police and BART Police quickly escalated.

The family believes Greer may have been spooked by the heavy police presence. In the video, multiple officers attempt to put Greer into handcuffs before he is forced to the ground.

He stays on the ground for about 6.5 minutes where officers reportedly Taze him three times and restrain him. He then appears unconscious.

“They took an oath to protect and serve and if you watch the video, they literally sat there and watched him die,” she said. “They did absolutely nothing for seven minutes while he was turning blue, but tell jokes and talk bad about him.”

Abello said Greer did not immediately receive medical attention. Greer was later pronounced dead at a hospital about an hour after he was pulled over.

The Alameda County Coroner’s Office said Greer died of physical exertion while under the influence of PCP.

The Greer family is suing the city of Hayward and BART Police for wrongful death. Those agencies declined to comment because of pending litigation.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office never investigated the case. A spokesperson for the DA’s office said their policy to date has been to investigate incidents in which a death occurs as the result of officer-involved shootings. Yet, the DA has decided to “broaden the language and protocol in Alameda County to include the referral and investigation of critical incidents that result in a death.”