OAKLAND -- Derrick Jones, the East Oakland barber killed by police in 2010, was shot in cold blood in the street running for his life from officers, according to the attorney who is suing the department on behalf of Jones' widow.
"He was scared from the very beginning," attorney Ayanna Jenkins-Toney said during closing arguments Friday in a rare federal civil rights trial brought against the two officers who shot and killed Jones.
Jones' girlfriend had flagged down the officers, Omar Daza-Quiroz and Eriberto Perez-Angeles, after she and Jones had fought.
Jones refused to give his name and then ran away from Daza-Quiroz and Perez-Angeles when they tried to handcuff and arrest him at his Bancroft Avenue barbershop, leading them on a two-block chase to Trask Street.
Daza-Quiroz and Perez-Angeles fired a total of nine shots at Jones, hitting him six times.
He fled, Jenkins-Toney said, because they shot at him at the barbershop during the initial interaction, and he feared for his life. "That's why he was running. That's why he was scared," she said.
Daza-Quiroz and Perez-Angeles said they shot at Jones after chasing him from the barbershop because they believed he had a gun.
Police later found that Jones, an ex-felon, had no weapon but was carrying a small scale, which they said he used to weigh marijuana.
"To Daza-Quiroz, that looked like a gun," the officers' attorney, Aimee Hamoy-Perera, said Friday.
They had to arrest Jones because he was dangerous, she said, referring to the officers' state of mind during the incident, sparked by the girlfriend's claim that Jones had tried to strangle her.
"Daza-Quiroz was afraid, and he needed to protect himself and his partner -- and the public," Hamoy-Perera said. "He was afraid he was about to be shot, and so he fired," she said.
Jones was still married to Lanell Jones, who is seeking unspecified damages, charging that her late husband's civic rights were violated. The city of Oakland settled a similar suit brought by the parents of Jones for $225,000. The Alameda County District Attorney's Office cleared both officers of criminal wrongdoing.
The department has been under the watch of a federal monitor stemming from a civil rights settlement after the Riders police brutality scandal more than a decade ago. U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that neither the Riders case nor critical reports about the department's problems can be used as evidence in the trial. Neither can 74 use-of-force complaints filed against Daza-Quiroz since he joined the department in 2006.
Friday's closing arguments were the last chance for the attorneys to convince jurors about what happened Nov. 8, 2010. Depending on which version they decide reflects the events of that night, they will determine whether to grant damages to Lanell Jones and set the amount.
The judge, angered at a statement by Jenkins-Toney, came close to declaring a mistrial and said she will reserve her judgment about whether or not to do so until after the jury returns a decision next week.
She said Jenkins-Toney told jurors that the officers would not be responsible for the cost if they ordered Daza-Quiroz and Perez-Angeles to pay damages. The officers are represented by an insurance company.
The judge said it is a fundamental rule that attorneys do not imply that defendants are not responsible for their behavior.
"If I declare a mistrial, it's on you," she sternly told Jenkins-Toney after the closing arguments, out of earshot of the jurors, who had left to begin deliberations. "You should have never gone there."
Staff writer Thomas Peele contributed to this report.