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Will San Francisco Be Forced to Pay for the Crimes of Its Brutal Cops Once Again?
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Photo: photo: Courtesy Leigh Stackpole

Will San Francisco Be Forced to Pay for the Crimes of Its Brutal Cops Once Again?

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NORTH BEACH, CALIFORNIA

A San Francisco police officer who shot a fleeing man in the back after he ditched a gun earlier this month in North Beach, California, was the subject of an unusual presentation before the city Board of Supervisors in 2016.  Read more about Oliver Barcenas in our article which includes the shocking video footage from the June 15th incident.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, on Nov. 25, 2016, friends and family members of people alleging abuses by officer Joshua Cabillo, who is a five-year veteran of the force, delivered a report to the board during the public comment portion of the meeting.

They cited six alleged incidents of misconduct and excessive use of force by the officer, who in a previous job fatally shot a 15-year-old boy in South San Francisco.

One of the presenters was Dolores Piper, 75, the great aunt of Derrick Gaines, the teen killed by Cabillo in the 2012 shooting. Gaines had been fleeing with an inoperable revolver, which later reportedly fell out of his waistband when Cabillo tackled him.

The city of South San Francisco settled a civil suit against Cabillo for $250,000, without admitting wrongdoing. The officer, who said he had feared being shot, was cleared of potential charges.

 “We’ve brought this guy’s name up any number of times,” Piper said in an interview Wednesday. “How many times? How many meetings? How many sessions?”

Leigh Stackpole joined Piper in asking San Francisco officials to get Cabillo off the streets in 2016.

Her son was a plaintiff in a suit filed against Cabillo and other San Francisco officers by the American Civil Liberties Union a year earlier. Stackpole’s son was thrown to the ground and punched, and officers twisted and threatened to break his arm, according to the complaint. The city settled the suit in 2016 for $40,000, without admitting wrongdoing.

Stackpole, 52, said the trauma of the incident led her and her son, now 25, to move to New York.

“It’s just the frustration of how hard it is to get a bad cop off the force, and then this is what ends up happening, he shoots someone else,” she said Wednesday to the SF Chronicle.

On Tuesday, Cabillo was identified as the officer who shot a fleeing man on June 9th in a busy North Beach nightlife area. Outraged witnesses surrounded the officer in the aftermath, shouting at him “What did you do! F— you!” while recording him with their cell phones. All of the video footage from the incidences can be found in our previous article, where we clearly identified a black object that Barcenas ditched a couple of seconds before he was shot in the back twice.

Cabillo and his partner detected a group of men drinking on a street corner with open containers. The area was also filled with revelers after the Golden State Warriors’ NBA title win Friday night.

While his partner was parking a car, Cabillo approached a group at 7:15 according to the body camera he was wearing, said something about an offence while addressing Barcenas, who was obviously nervous and then proceeded to back away from the officer “…Hold on man you’re not going anywhere”. The group suggested spilling the alcohol and trying to run away. After Cabillo once again said “no one’s going anywhere” at 7:15:48 Barcenas started running and at 7:15:56 the first shot was fired in his back. The officer was thus forced to make a life or death decision in only 8 seconds.

The San Francisco Police Department’s General Order on the use of force states that officers may use deadly force only “as a last resort when reasonable alternatives have been exhausted or are not feasible to protect the safety of the public and police officers. The use of firearms and other deadly force is the most serious decision an officer may ever make. When safe and feasible under the totality of circumstances, officers shall consider other objectively reasonable force options before discharging a firearm or using other deadly force.”

As we indicated in our earlier article, while running, Barcenas took off his jacket and threw away a sub-compact semi-auto pistol, a Glock Model 30, 45 caliber equipped with a laser sight and ‘big stick’ magazine for twenty six rounds. SF Chronicle wrote “Police have not said Barcenas pointed or fired the gun.”

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According to the SF Chronicle, Barcenas was shot by San Francisco police before in a 2012 incident in the Mission District. In that case, he was accused of pulling a Tec-9 assault pistol on current Assistant Chief Toney Chaplin, who at the time worked on the Gang Task Force. We believe that Barcenas couldn’t have forgotten what happened to him in 2012, when he was shot twice.

Sgt. Tony Montoya, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, defended Cabillo’s character and noted that it’s not uncommon for officers to fire their weapon multiple times in their careers.

Montoya, who has worked as Cabillo’s supervisor in the past and was named as one of the officers in the ACLU lawsuit, said he’s never seen Cabillo be rude or aggressive.

“He is a very diligent, hardworking police officer,” Montoya said. “If anything, he’s really easygoing and even-keeled, and when we work together, he actually did most of the talking just because he’s got a knack for talking to people.”

The report compiled by Stackpole and Piper detailed civilian complaints against Cabillo, but it’s unclear just how many have been investigated by the city.

The civilian Department of Police Accountability “cannot disclose the number of complaints or whether there have been any complaints against any individual officer,” said Sarah Hawkins, the group’s chief of staff.

The ACLU released a statement Wednesday calling for more transparency from law enforcement regarding police shootings.

“We have seen and heard far too many stories of people — particularly people of color — being killed and mistreated by police to allow departments to keep judging these abuses in secret,” the organization said as quoted in the SF Chronicle.

Maria Villalta, a notary public at Carecen, an advocacy organization in San Francisco, said she filed a civilian complaint against Cabillo with the Department of Police Accountability in 2015.

Villalta said she, her former husband and his cousin were racially profiled by Cabillo and his partner. Her ex-husband and his cousin were detained on the street and not told why, she said.

“It was just not fair. I don’t like him very much,” Villalta said of Cabillo.

Will San Francisco Be Forced to Pay for the Crimes of Its Brutal Cops Once Again?

The San Francisco Police Department did not respond to SF Chronicle requests for comment about incidents involving the officer.

Montoya declined to comment on the North Beach shooting, but he suggested that video evidence doesn’t always show the full picture.

“We’ve all learned through experience a certain angle or a certain type of video doesn’t give you the full understanding of what occurred,” Montoya said. “A video camera may not catch everything a person sees.”

We know that the police officer made a decision to fire shots in a crowded street risking the lives of citizens. We also know that it took him just 8 seconds to make this decision. We know Barcenas works in a flower shop. We know he threw his gun away and never put anyone’s life in danger during the incident. We know he then ran in fear for his life from the police officer.

Piper said she feared the officer’s behavior will be excused because Barcenas had a criminal history.

“He’s a human being with a life,” Piper said.

Occasionally a reasonable use of force used to protect public safety is legitimate, but this was obviously not the case with the Barcenas incident. Will the city be forced to settle a civil suit using the taxpayer pocket once again? Only time will tell.

Author: USA Really