Three years after police shot and killed Luis Góngora Pat, the city is prepared to pay his family $140,000 to settle a lawsuit, the Examiner first reported Thursday.
Police shot Góngora Pat on April 7, 2016 near a homeless encampment on 18th and Shotwell streets, where he lived. Sgt. Nathaniel Steger and Officer Michael Malone responded to a report of a man waving a knife and, less than 30 seconds later, shot Góngora Pat.
Last May, District Attorney George Gascón announced there would be no charges filed against the respective officers involved in the fatal shootings of both Góngora Pat and Mario Woods, who was killed in the Bayview in 2015. The city reached a settlement agreement with the family of Góngora Pat in January and again in March with Gwen Woods, mother of Mario Woods.
“With this decision, Gascón gives officers a green light to kill without consequence,” Góngora Pat’s cousin, Luis Armando Poot Pat, after the announcement in May 2018. “Not all cops are bad. But when you don’t make accountable bad police in the police department, you impact all of the community.”
He also called for Gascón’s resignation, which would be announced in October. The district attorney, who expressed regret over not being able to charge them according to the law, said he would not seek re-election in November — an election that also has open spots for public defender and sheriff in a shake-up of criminal justice leadership.
The respective lawsuits filed by relatives of Góngora Pat and Woods argued that the police narrative in the immediate aftermath did not match details that arose later. Both shootings occurred amid several fatal use-of-force cases from SFPD, who also killed Alex Nieto on March 21, 2014, and Amilcar Perez Lopez on Feb. 26, 2015. After Jessica Williams was fatally shot by police on May 19, 2016, then-Police Chief Greg Suhr resigned.
Góngora Pat, a native of a small Yucatán village in Mexico, worked as a prep cook at restaurants after arriving in the early 2000s. He wasn’t able to stay afloat and by April 2016, lived in a tent in the Mission. He was known in the neighborhood for peacefully kicking around a soccer ball before police shot and killed him.
“We’re insisting that we want justice. My mother’s nearly dying after the assassination of my brother, and I just ask them that they don’t allow her to die of the grief over this case,” Jose Góngora Pat said in February 2018, before Gascón’s announcement. “I asked Gascon where are those officers. Are they still out on the streets killing people?”
The Board of Supervisors is set to approve the $140,000 settlement in the coming weeks.