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Richmond police force in 2014 death deemed ‘excessive’

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Richmond’s Citizen Police Review Commission on Wednesday night substantiated the allegation that excessive and unreasonable force was used in a 2014 shooting that resulted in the death of 24-year-old Richard “Pedie” Perez, according to Mayor Tom Butt.

John Burris, an attorney for Perez’s family, called that an excellent result:

“They had been dogged in their efforts to get the city of Richmond to complete their investigation. … They were determined to get justice for their son.”

Perez was shot outside Uncle Sam’s Liquors on Cutting Boulevard in Richmond on Sept. 14, 2014. Police said Perez was engaged in a scuffle with a police officer when he went for the officer’s firearm, but that account has been disputed by Perez’s family as well as Burris.

Burris said Perez put his hands up in an attempt to surrender before getting shot, and that Officer Wallace Jensen was the aggressor in the struggle.

Jensen testified during a coroner’s inquest in December 2014 that Perez was intoxicated and “causing problems,” according to a clerk at the liquor store. He said Perez attempted to walk away while he was being detained.

At the time, Burris called that an attempt to “demonize” Perez. He argued that regardless of how Jensen characterized Perez’s behavior, there was no justification for the use of deadly force while Perez was attempting to surrender.

Perez was unarmed at the time, but the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office declined to file criminal charges against Jensen in a report issued in July 2016. Jensen’s actions were deemed to be justified after an investigation into the shooting.

Burris said:

“He should’ve been prosecuted. … It’s up to the district attorney, and it’s a different DA now.”

Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case.

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