Official Calls Oakland Police Probe Into Officers’ Killing of Homeless Man ‘Disappointing’

A reporter photographs an image of Joshua Pawlik, a homeless man who was shot and killed by Oakland police officers, during a press conference announcing a lawsuit against the Oakland Police Department on February 6, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A reporter photographs an image of Joshua Pawlik, a homeless man who was shot and killed by Oakland police officers, during a press conference announcing a lawsuit against the Oakland Police Department on February 6, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A federal court-appointed monitor overseeing the Oakland Police Department has rejected the findings of internal investigations into the police killing of a homeless man and criticized the police chief’s oversight of the probe.

Robert Warshaw said in a report made public Wednesday that investigators failed to question officers about a video that contradicted their accounts of the moments before they opened fire, killing 32-year-old Joshua Pawlik, the San Francisco Chronicle reported .

Warshaw wrote in his report dated Feb. 19 that internal affairs investigators failed to challenge the officers’ account of the moments before the shooting, and that a video contradicted the assessment by Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick that the fatal shooting was justified “disappointing and myopic.”

On March 11, 2018, Pawlik was found unconscious with a gun between two houses in West Oakland. Police said he raised the gun and pointed it at them when four officers opened fire.

Warshaw said the video does not support that account.

“His movements, as seen on the video, do not coincide with the movements to which the officers claim they reacted,” he wrote.

Warshaw’s report was publicly released under a new police transparency law, which requires California law-enforcement agencies to release previously confidential documents regarding certain officer misconduct and uses of force.

The shooting report from the department’s Executive Force Review Board, also made public Wednesday, said the board accepted the findings of the internal affairs investigators regarding use of force and exonerated all five officers who fired their weapons.

Four of the officers — William Berger, Brandon Hraiz, Craig Tanaka and Sgt. Francisco Negrete — fired guns and Officer Josef Philips shot a bean bag.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said Wednesday she would not file criminal charges against the officers because there was not enough evidence of wrongdoing.

The Oakland Police Department has been under federal oversight since the 2003 settlement of a civil rights lawsuit that accused officers of planting evidence, beating suspects and other wrngdoing.

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