After the Alameda district attorney’s office announced no criminal charges for the three California Highway Patrol officers who fatally shot Erik Salgado, a 23-year-old Latino man, in 2020, his family asks: “Where is the justice?”
A report released Monday by the office of District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said “questions remain as to the use of deadly force in this case,” but that evidence collected in an investigation “does not contradict” officers’ stated justifications for shooting at Salgado in Oakland in June 2020.
California Highway Patrol pursued Salgado, who was driving a stolen vehicle, according to the report. Three cop cars, two of which were unmarked, cornered Salgado. His car reversed and then advanced, hitting a CHP vehicle. Three officers who had exited their vehicles — Richard Henderson, Eric Hulbert and Donald Saputa — shot at Salgado, hitting him 16 times and killing him.
Salgado was unarmed. The cops also shot and injured Salgado’s girlfriend, Brianna Colombo, who was in the passenger seat.
During the investigation, the cops claimed that they thought Salgado had run over another officer. No cops were actually hit by Salgado’s car.
John Burris, the attorney for the Salgado family, said Salgado was “not attempting to run over the officers, he was trying to flee.”
“It took two years to say that it was ok to shoot 16 rifle bullets into my son for a stolen car,” Salgado’s mother, Felina Ramirez, said in a news release from the Justice 4 Erik Salgado Organizing Group. “Erik was just 23 years old. His daughter Liliana has to grow up without a father. Where is the justice?”
In the wake of the DA deciding not to criminally charge the officers who killed Salgado, the family has called on California Attorney General Rob Bonta to conduct an investigation. Bonta’s office did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
“My family has experienced first-hand how the system meant to oversee law enforcement colludes with killer cops,” Salgado’s sister Amanda Majail-Blanco said in a release.
The family’s attorney called the DA’s lack of charges “bittersweet” — “bitter because there is no criminal prosecution, but sweet because we can now go forward with the civil litigation.”
Salgado was one of several young Latino men killed by police officers in the San Francisco Bay Area in the last couple of years.
Almost exactly one year ago, Alameda police knelt on 26-year-old Mario Gonzalez’s back, killing him. The officers involved are on paid administrative leave and have not been charged.
And one of the officers who shot Salgado, Henderson, also shot and killed 19-year-old Pedro Villanueva in Southern California in 2016, The Mercury News reported.
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