Richmond police to face lawsuit over shooting

Civil rights attorney John Burris said Friday that he plans to file a civil lawsuit Saturday against the City of Richmond and police Officer Wallace Jensen stemming from a 2014 officer-involved shooting that took the life of 24-year-old Richard “Pedie” Perez.

During a coroner’s inquest in December, Jensen testified that the Sept. 14, 2014 shooting occurred after Perez attempted to grab the officer’s sidearm during a struggle near a liquor store in the 3300 block of Cutting Blvd.

The officer testified that he had approached Perez, who was intoxicated, after a store clerk identified him as “causing problems.”

Burris contended in a prepared statement that Perez put his hands up before the shooting occurred, and that Jensen was the aggressor in that struggle:

“There is no justification for the use of deadly force if a person is surrendering. … Any suggestion that [Perez] was belligerent, uncooperative, and aggressive is simply an attempt by the defendants to demonize a young man that was well known and liked in his community.”

Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus responded to an inquiry via email saying that his department is still waiting on findings from the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office, which will ultimately determine how this shooting gets classified.

While he had not yet seen the lawsuit, Magnus wrote that its filing did not come as a surprise:

“We view this incident as a tragedy, but we believe that the truth will ultimately be revealed through both the D.A.’s findings — and ultimately through the lawsuit litigation — which we are confident will show the officer made a difficult, but necessary decision to protect himself.”

Burris will hold a press conference regarding the lawsuit Saturday morning at 11 a.m. at 3322 Cutting Blvd. in Richmond, the scene of Perez’s death.