Family of man shot by cops wants officers arrested

(KGO)
September 20, 2012 6:06:19 PM PDT
The fallout continues in Vallejo where the family and friends of a young man shot by police over Labor Day weekend demand the officers involved be punished. 23-year-old Mario Romero was killed the morning of September 2 by Vallejo police. Now, the mayor is also calling for an outside investigation by the state attorney general.

This was the seventh officer-involved shooting in Vallejo in just the past four months. Five of them have been fatal. Not only does the mayor want the state to come in, but Romero's family wants the officers involved arrested for murder.

Nearly three weeks after Romero was shot and killed by Vallejo police, his family continues their quest for answers. On Thursday, they held a rally in front of the Solano County district attorney's office. "We're just praying that this comes out the right way and that these officers are charged with murder and attempted murder," Romero's sister Cynquita Martin said.

"I don't want my son's death to go in vain because my son is a hero," Romero's mother Cynthia Mitchell said. According to police, Romero and 21-year-old Joe Johnson were sitting in a car at 4 a.m. When two officers stopped their patrol car and shined their lights on Romero's car, investigators claim Romero went for a gun. "The guy gets out of the car and reaches for what the officers reasonably believe is a gun in his waistband. They have no other information that would lead them to any other conclusion at that time," Lt. Jeff Bassett said.

Police fired 32 rounds at the car. Romero and Johnson did not return fire. "There's something called overkill. When you kill or shoot a person in excess of 30 times, what are you trying to do? What are you trying to prove?" attorney George Holland asked. Police say they found some ecstasy and a pellet gun inside the car. "That he would've pointed a pellet gun that does not have bullets at two police officers who have their guns out, that defies common sense," attorney John Burris said.

Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis is now calling for Attorney General Kamala Harris to launch an independent investigation into the Romero shooting. "Whatever report comes out, findings and report, we don't want them to be looked at as automatically biased because it came from the police department or the district attorney's office," he said. "

The formal request won't go to the state attorney general's office until after the city council meets next Tuesday. A police department spokesperson said they would welcome the outside investigation. They believe it will show that their officers acted justifiably with their use of force.


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