CALIFORNIA—A Berkeley police officer was fired on March 15, 2021 for an incident that took place on July 30, 2020, which was a shooting in a CVS parking lot in North Berkeley located at 1451 Shattuck Ave.
Police stated that the incident began when three people stole merchandise from the CVS and staff confronted the alleged thieves in the parking lot; this is when the nearby officer responded. The confrontation led to the thieves getting away and the officer firing three shots into the getaway vehicle.
Officer Cheri Miller, arrived on the scene of the confrontation between CVS staff and the suspects. Miller came out of her vehicle aiming her gun at the suspects. She then began to order 19-year-old Brandon Owen to get on the ground but then ordered Owen’s to get into his driver side vehicle to which Owen’s replies,“ Are you sure?” Owens eventually started up the car and Officer Miller began yelling at Owens to get out of the car but Owens began to drive off.
Miller fired the shots towards the driver side of the vehicle and all three of the bullets hit the ford fusion without hitting any of the suspects in the vehicle. According to Berkeleyside, the Berkeley Police Department found that Miller had violated BPD’s use-of-force and vehicle pursuit policies when she fired her gun. On Sept. 1, 2020, Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood, informed Miller of his decision to let her go. Miller insisted she was attempting to shoot the driver, not his vehicle, because she thought the suspect would run her over. Miller’s attorney argued that Miller lost her footing, which changed the trajectory of her aim.
Officer Miller was under Berkeley’s probationary period which lasts two years. Miller was an at-will employee allowing the city the ability to “release her” at any time, which is how they labeled her firing as a “no cause probationary release.” The attorney office produced a frame-by-frame analysis backing up their claims but the investigators who reviewed the evidence were not convinced. Miller has appealed the decision by the city twice with unsuccessful results.