Mom Says Cops Lied About Fatal Shooting
SACRAMENTO (CN) - A Vallejo police officer shot a student to death in broad daylight as he held his hands in the air while making an anti-violence music video, the man's mother claims in court.
Andrea Jarreau-Griffin sued Vallejo and its police Officer Kent Tribble, in Federal Court. She claims Tribble shot her son to death at about 3 p.m. on Dec. 11, 2010.
Her son, Guy Jarreau Jr., "was a community activist, mentor, and student at Napa Valley Community College," the mom says.
"Prior to being shot, he was assisting fellow classmates and friends with the filming of an anti-violence music video."
The complaint does not state why police showed up at the scene of the music video, but the Vallejo Police Department said in a statement that day that officers were responding to a report of "a man brandishing a firearm."
According to the police statement: "Officers arrived on scene at 3:01 p.m. and observed the suspect flee into a nearby alley. The officers confronted the man, who was now holding the firearm.
"In self defense, the officer fired on the suspect, striking him at least once. The suspect was taken via air ambulance to a Bay Area trauma center, where he was later pronounced dead. The identity of the suspect has not been released, pending the notification of next of kin. The 34 year old suspect, a resident of Vallejo, had a criminal history in another state."
But in her complaint, Jarreau-Griffin says that's not what happened.
When Tribble arrived, "Mr. Jarreau was ahead of the film crew, directing them in which say to go. The first officer(s) to arrive at the scene commanded the film crew, as well as Mr. Jarreau, to disperse," the complaint states.
"As Mr. Jarreau and the film crew were following the command(s) of the first officer(s), more officers arrived and commanded the film crew to get on the ground. Mr. Jarreau, on the other hand, was a distance from the film crew and was then blocked off by an unmarked police car, as he was walking in the direction of the alley. Member(s) of the film crew and friends stated that defendant Tribble, who shot Mr. Jarreau, was wearing plain clothing at the time of the incident. Mr. Jarreau was shot as he held his hands in the air, while holding a green cup. The film crew and friends of Mr. Jarreau stated that the officer gave no warning(s), to Mr. Jarreau, prior to firing his weapon.
"At all times relevant herein, defendant Tribble was not wearing a police uniform and was dressed in clothes that a reasonable person would not identify as clothes of a peace officer.
"When defendant Tribble shot Mr. Jarreau, Mr. Jarreau only had a green cup in his hand.
"Mr. Jarreau had his hands in the air, while holding a green cup. The green cup was found at the site of the shooting, as stated by members of the film crew and eyewitnesses.
"After defendant Tribble shot Mr. Jarreau, defendant City's officers and defendant Tribble waited unreasonably long before calling for medical assistance for Mr. Jarreau.
"After defendant Tribble shot Mr. Jarreau, defendant City's officers and defendant Tribble directed the ambulance to take Mr. Jarreau to John Muir Medical Center, which was unreasonably far from where Mr. Jarreau was shot, and other emergency medical facilities would have been more reasonable choices due to their proximity.
"After defendant Tribble shot Mr. Jarreau, Mr. Jarreau was incapacitated and could not reasonably be considered a threat to any individual. At that time, Mr. Jarreau was clearly in need of emergency medical care and defendant City's officers and defendant Tribble provided no emergency medical care."
The mother seeks punitive damages for civil rights violations and loss of consortium.
She is represented by Corey Evans with Evans & Page, of San Francisco.
The shooting was widely reported in local media. Jarreau was African-American.