Family of man shot, killed by Pleasanton police wants federal investigation

PLEASANTON, Calif. (KGO) -- The family of a 19-year-old San Jose man who was shot and killed last month by Pleasanton police is calling for a federal investigation into his death. The family says an independent autopsy of John Deming Jr.'s body contradicts what police say happened.

Nearly two months later, the Deming family is still questioning why Pleasanton police used lethal force on their son. They're beginning to believe that it may take pressure from the federal government to get some answers.

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Details are now in dispute over what happened when police responded to a break-in alarm at a classic car dealership at 2 a.m.

Pleasanton police told reporters that the 19-year old was acting like a madman and that efforts failed to subdue him by shooting a beanbag and by using a Taser. And the shots that killed Deming were fired at close-range, allegedly as an officer was being beaten.

Findings from an independent autopsy by the family's attorney contradict what police said happened.

"These shots were not at close range as alleged by the Pleasanton Police Department," said Ben Meiselas with the Geragos Law Firm. "There were no Taser marks on the body, and we want answers to these very, very simple questions."

The suspect's father, John Deming Sr., is a veteran reserve officer in Oakley. No one has provided him with results from the official autopsy or other details to help understand what happened between his son and officers.

"They refuse to share any information that they have with us, so this is the only resort," he said. "It's two months later, and they haven't reached out to say anything. They keep saying it's under investigation."

VIDEO: Parents of man fatally shot by police question use of force


ABC7 News contacted Pleasanton police and a spokesperson said the department and the district attorney's office are still working on the case.

"Because these investigations are still pending, it would be inappropriate, and unfair to all parties involved, to comment," said Lt. Jeffrey Bretzing.

The Deming family and their attorney say the autopsy indicated no presence of drugs in the 19-year-old's body.

A claim filed in superior court is seeking the case be turned over to the U.S. Department of Justice for independent fact-finding and review.
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