OAKLAND -- A man shot by an Oakland police officer shortly after he committed a robbery stands to receive a $125,000 settlement from the city.
The City Council later this month is slated to give final approval to a settlement with Tony Ray Jones, who was shot in the back as he fled the area of the robbery in February 2012.
Jones, a cousin of the late Oscar Grant III, who was shot to death by a BART police officer on New Year's Day 2009, had filed a civil rights lawsuit seeking $10 million from the city. Council members tentatively approved the settlement during a recent closed-door meeting.
The case is the latest instance of Oakland opting to settle high-profile lawsuits rather than paying for an expensive legal trial and risk losing the case.
Former Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente criticized the settlement, saying that it would encourage others to sue the city. "This person harmed people, and yet we are still paying," he said. "I think this is ridiculous."
Alex Katz, spokesman for City Attorney Barbara Parker, said the city settles cases based on "careful evaluation of the legal issues involved, the cost of going to trial, evidence and probability of success. In this case, just going to trial would have cost twice as much before we even got to a verdict," Katz said.
Jones' attorney, Waukeen McCoy, could not be reached for comment late Thursday.
Jones, who has a criminal record dating back nearly a decade, was found guilty of second-degree robbery and sentenced to 15 years in prison in connection with the Feb. 19, 2012, robbery of a man outside an East Oakland liquor store.
According to evidence presented at last year's trial, Jones and another man stole $40 from the victim and then jumped into a white van that happened to be idling near the front of the liquor store near the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Cole Street. After Jones removed his mask, the owner of the van recognized him and agreed to drive the two men away from the store, according to court testimony.
At the same time, Oakland police Officer Cesar Garcia saw the men jump into the van and pursued it, court evidence revealed. Garcia saw Jones jump out of the moving van with a gun in his hand and gave chase. According to case evidence, Garcia shot Jones when it appeared that Jones was turning around with the gun in his hand. However, Jones had dropped the gun and was unarmed at the time of the shooting.
Garcia shot and killed Antoine Jackson during a 2011 confrontation on Curran Avenue. That shooting also resulted in a civil rights lawsuit against the city, which is still ongoing.
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.