Family and friends of Agustin Gonsalez, the 29-year-old Lathrop man who was killed by Hayward Police last November, are calling for an independent investigation of the incident. In addition, numerous public speakers at a lengthy and grief-stricken Hayward City Council chambers Tuesday night called for both officers involved in the shooting to be taken off of active duty.
Hayward Police and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, meanwhile, are conducting ongoing investigations on the matter. Hayward Police fired 13 times on Gonsalez, believing he held a knife. Officers later learned the object was a safety blade.
Earlier this month, Hayward Police released body-camera video of the incident, along with private security camera and audio that preceding the shooting. Upon arriving on the scene, one police officer waited just seven seconds before opening fire on Gonsalez, who had previously struggled with mental illness, it was reported afterward.
“In the meantime, I would ask that all of you–keep in mind that the police officers involved, we–you have not heard their story. We have not heard their story.”Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday to family of Agustin Gonsalez, the man killed by Hayward Police last November
“All he needed was help and you guys didn’t do that,” said Gonsalez’s aunt, Cynthia Moreno. “My nephew did not deserve to die and not in that way.”
Several speakers Tuesday night were critical of the officer, while questioning the police department’s training and protocols.
“It’s very clear that a murder took place and Agustin had no chance at survival,” said Beatrice Johnson, the aunt of Oscar Grant, the Hayward man killed by transit police at Fruitvale BART in 2010. “There was nothing on the part of the police department to save life. That’s murder and I think there should be an independent investigation.”
Calls for a third-party investigation are necessary, the family believes, because of conflicts of interests between Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, several Hayward councilmembers, and the contributions each have received in the past from various police labor unions.
“Do you work for the people of Hayward or the [Police Officers Association] (POA)?” Franco Canto, Gonsalez’s uncle, asked Hayward Councilmember Francisco Zermeño, Al Mendall, and Mayor Barbara Halliday.
During O’Malley’s re-election campaign last year for district attorney, the prevalence of contributions from police unions undermined her credibility to some. Of note was a $10,000 donation from the Fremont POA while her office was investigating an officer-involved shooting of a pregnant 16-year-old, also occurring in Hayward. O’Malley’s office later decided against charging the Fremont police officers.
The outpouring of grief and criticism over the Gonsalez shooting was the third such demonstration at Hayward City Hall since last December. Each time the city’s reluctance to remark upon the incident due to the ongoing investigations left family members frustrated. But the mayor’s apparent inability to show heartfelt compassion toward the family triggered a brief demonstration Tuesday night, momentarily pausing the public meeting. A similar situation occurred last month.
The overflow crowd at City Hall erupted in chants and angry catcalls after Hayward Mayor Halliday followed conciliatory remarks with an admonition for crowd to view the incident from the police officer’s point of view.
“I can assure you we have been listening to all you tonight. We have been listening. We will not let this go without learning from it,” said Halliday. “We will be continuing to discuss what can be done to prevent it from happening again.”
Noting the investigations into the case, along with a the lawsuit filed by the family on Feb. 8, Halliday added, “We all want justice. Justice can take some time.”
“Justice for who?!” a family member yelled out.
A flustered Halliday responded, “In the meantime, I would ask that all of you–keep in mind that the police officers involved, we–you have not heard their story. We have not heard their story.”
“We saw your story. Are you serious?” another family member exclaimed. “Thank you for letting us know which side you’re on. Good job mayor.”
Halliday quickly called the meeting into recess after chants of “Justice for Augie” rang out, and some council members chose to leave the dais. Halliday, Zermeño and Councilmember Elisa Marquez later gravitated toward the back of the room and interacted with friends and family of Gonsalez, along with activists.
One man, a police accountability activist, briefly exchanged words with Zermeño, who urged him and others to refrain from disrupting the meeting. “You’re not helping,” Zermeño repeatedly told the activist.
Earlier, Zermeño raised eyebrows after he excused himself from the public comment period–one highly critical of law enforcement–and walked toward two on-duty Hayward police officers in the room and pointedly shook hands with both.
The boot licker or the loser himself not sure but dare not to use the true identity and speak anon is coward’s act. The Hayward cops lied on affidavit for search warrants, cut out security camera when they found high value items and took everything but there was nothing similar to what they were issued to search.
Police mean they are liars, thieves, murderers and illiterates like the Mr. Anon commenting here.
Without the badge and the gang, you guys are nothing but losers. The worse criminal gang in history of mankind.
It was not a box cutter!! Have you seen it? Because I have and it was a saftey blade about an inch long. And he was not a meth head and he was not a gang member and if you read the article he wasn’t even from Hayward! When did you become detective on the case? You seem to know him and judge him so much? Did you know him? Come on Mr. Anonymous? Why stay anonymous?
you have your head up your ass the only thing getto about this hole thing is you and the city of hayward.first the cops cant do shit like other.cops because thay dont live in hayward why should thay care and i bet one thug meth head could have taken the man down.so stick that in your pipe and smoke it fat mouth
Let’s stick to the facts Anonymous . What you just did was a lot of editorializing….smoke and mirrors. Comments that are not in line with this situation.
All the city of Hayward has to do is Not settle and let investigation and courts decide.
But local government business model is , it’s cheaper to settle….but why have nondisclosure agreements baked into settlement?
The people want the Truth
Unfortunately lawyers start dragging families through the mud, twisting manipulating kicking the dead horse. The family has to go through all of this over and over and over in the courtroom. The Cities will wear them down.
Oh I just did some editorializing my self?
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It wasn’t a “safety blade” he was carrying, it was a box cutter; it’s what the meth-head ghetto rat punks carry because it’s legal. The thugs carry things like sharpened screw drivers and box cutters, because after all, a bitch punk never fights fair. Come on’ thugs, who do you think you are fooling?! The cop’s had no choice but to protect the public and take him down. I’d love to know what was in the dead guy’s blood stream… there are crazy drugs out in the under-belly of society. It’s all illegitimate baby mommas, prison tattoos, meth, ghetto rap and loco’s trying to win the “ghetto lottery”. And there have been lots of instances just like this whereby some jackass goes berserk from drugs and stress (probably over his dumb-ass, welfare getting baby momma). Hopefully the family does not win the “ghetto lottery”… that would be the biggest injustice. Hayward has a long history of blocking ghetto lottery pay-outs.