Rookie SFPD Officer Fatally Shot Unarmed Man in Bayview

At a town hall this week, Bayview residents shared their pain once again following the latest fatal police shooting of an unarmed man.

Lisa Ganser of the Idriss Stelley Foundation writes the names of police shooting victims in chalk outside a San Francisco Police Department town hall meeting at Bayview’s True Hope Church on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (Ida Mojadad/S.F. Weekly)

Update, Dec. 11: The San Francisco Police Department identified Christopher Samayoa as the officer involved in the Dec. 1 shooting.

_______

Like clockwork, the fatal police shooting of an unarmed man has rehashed pain, fear and anger of Bayview residents toward the San Francisco Police Department.

This time, the shooting of Keita O’Neil, 42, was done by an officer who joined the force just four days prior, Police Chief Bill Scott confirmed Thursday. They found no weapon at the scene.

Body camera footage released at Thursday’s town hall at Bayview’s True Hope Church on Gilman Avenue — just a few hundred feet away from the shooting — showed the rookie officer fatally shooting O’Neil, an unarmed carjacking suspect, through the passenger window of the police car.

Gasps and shouts of resentment from the audience members immediately followed the footage. The mother of Mario Woods, who was fatally shot by multiple SFPD officers in December 2015, was carried out of the church, crying and yelling at a panel of police officials.

“They hate us! They hate us!” Gwendolyn Woods shouted.

Only when O’Neil’s father, Charlie Grayson, stood to take the microphone, did the hall fall silent for a moment.

“You guys killing black brothers, they’re dying,” Grayson told the police officials. “You got to do something.”

The shooting followed a call San Francisco police received on Dec. 1 around 10:30 a.m. regarding a robbery and carjacking at 1800 23rd St. O’Neil allegedly grabbed keys to a California State Lottery van, pushed the female driver to the ground and drove away with the stolen vehicle, police say.

Police believe a second car, described as a gold SUV, was involved in the robbery due to it being at the scene and its occupants conversing with O’Neil during the incident. While four occupants were detained near Gilman Avenue and Hawes Street, officers say O’Neil had driven away.

Once O’Neil approached the intersection of Fitzgerald Avenue and Griffith Street, police say exited the van and ran toward the patrol car as the van rolled forward and struck a fence.

In the quick-moving footage, the officer in the passenger seat appears to have drawn his gun as the patrol car approached O’Neil before firing at him through the window, shattering the glass and striking him. He then stepped out of the car, passed O’Neil, and backed away from the immediate area.

O’Neil died of his injuries at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

The officer who fired the single shot has been placed on administrative leave while multiple investigations continue. Scott says the department investigation could be done in six months, while the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and Department of Police Accountability conduct their own independent investigations.

Other community members took to the microphone to air the collective grievances — some who accused Scott of being a puppet, some who said they expect no justice, and some who called for more African American officers on the force.

“Bayview cannot continue to be a training ground. [Officers] can’t relate and they’re afraid,” Bayview native April Spears told the police panel. “This is what’s killing our children.”

View Comments