A lawsuit is filed after a Hayward teen is shot by officers and they remove the bullets.
A recently filed lawsuit alleges officers in the Bay Area city of Hayward, California, wrongfully shot an identified 17-year-old twice in the back, then dug the bullets out by hand before emergency medical services arrived at the scene and commuted the teen to at a juvenile detention center.
“It’s barbaric, the way in which they tried to minimize the harm they caused this young man,” Adante Pointer, attorney for the teen’s family, said. “It’s completely inappropriate and fortunately it didn’t cause more severe damage to him.”
Pointer also posted photos of the wounds where the bullets were dug out on Twitter with a statement, “The cops did this to a kid when the eyes of the world were looking! Imagine what happens when NO ONE is looking!”
The lawsuit contends the teen spent the evening with his older cousin, attending to a music video shoot in Oakland. The teenager alleged fell asleep in his cousin’s car near the scene of looting during Black Lives Matter protests. Officers were called to a CVS pharmacy to investigate. The teenager claims he woke up alone and distraught around 4 a.m. on the first of June and tried calling his cousin, but his phone was dead. Frightened and confused, he drove past officers who immediately shot him in the back, according to the lawsuit.
Hayward Police Officer Samuel Tomlinson said he “believed the vehicle was going to hit him so he opened fire.” Officer Stephen Akacsos did the same, allegedly believing “his partner had either been shot or struck by the vehicle.”
The vehicle crashed into some brush and the teen hid in the bushes, where he was found by police and arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer. Bodycam footage revealed that the unarmed Black man was wounded within ten seconds of encounter and the charge against him was dropped.
Police said attending EMS described his injury “as a grazing wound.”
Pointer said, “Hayward police have consistently been on my radar, a police department where they sic dogs on people, beat people, shoot people and it rarely catches the public’s attention. This is Exhibit A of a police department which seeks to vilify the victim and justify the shooting. The public should be very concerned.”
The details regarding how the bullets were dug out from the teen’s body and what happened to them are unclear.
The event occurred as the public is becoming more and more aware of incidents of racially fueled police brutality. The death of George Floyd at the hands of officers earlier this year sparked the BLM movement. Others, including the death of Breonna Taylor, 26, followed. Taylor was fatally shot by officers in plain clothes in her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment in March.
“I feel like all they saw was a black face and just believed he did (a crime),” said the teen’s mother, Jael Barnes. “Not only does he now have these physical wounds, he has these mental wounds as well, which will never go away.”