SAN FRANCISCO—The mother of Keita O’Neil filed a lawsuit in federal court against the San Francisco Police Department on Tuesday, December 19 for the fatal shooting of her son on December 1.
The Associated Press reported that the lawsuit alleged O’Neil “was unarmed and did not present an immediate threat to the officers or anyone else.” The officer responsible for the shooting is Christopher Samatoya who graduated from the police academy four days before the shooting transpired.
The incident transpired on December 1 at approximately 10:30 a.m., after O’Neil, 42, robbed a victim who worked for the California State Lottery at 1800 23rd Street. Her keys were taken as well as the California Lottery van. The suspect pushed the victim to the ground, started the van and drove off. Inside the van were California Lottery Tickets that were being delivered to a local business in the area. The victim, whose name has not been revealed to the public, did not suffer any life-threatening injuries during the robbery.
Police reported a second vehicle, a gold SUV, with an unknown number of occupants were also involved in the robbery. Authorities suspect the vehicle to be involved because of its presence and occupants were at the scene of the robbery and O’Neil spoke with the occupants during the robbery. The van was located by officers on Highway 101 caravanning with the gold SUV.
The vehicles exited the freeway, drove on city streets, and marked SFPD units attempted to stop the vehicles in the area of Gilman Avenue and Hawes Street. The gold SUV was stopped and the occupants were detained, but the stolen van driven by O’Neil continued to flee. Near the intersection of Fitzgerald Avenue and Griffith Street, O’Neil slowed the van, opened the driver’s door, and exited the van.
O’Neil then began to run towards the direction of the marked SFPD vehicle while the van he drove continued to roll forward, striking a fence. As O’Neil was next to the passenger side door of the police vehicle, the officer in the passenger seat fired his weapon at O’Neil from inside the police vehicle.
Video from the Body Worn Camera from the officer depicts the officer firing a shot at his passenger window, just as the suspect exited the van. The bullet struck O’Neil in the head, who immediately fell to the ground. Officers exited their vehicle, saw O’Neil was injured, summoned medical aid, and began administering medical aid to suspect while waiting for an ambulance. He was transported to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital where he later died from his injury.
Authorities are still investigating the case and the occupants of the gold SUV and their possible connection to the robbery. At this time, the witness to the shooting is the officer who was driving the police vehicle whose name has not yet been released by police. He has been interviewed regarding the incident. The witness officer’s Body Worn Camera was not activated.
We are asking that anyone who may have witnessed the incident contact the Police Department. No weapons were found on the scene belonging to O’Neil. Independent Investigations Bureau of the District Attorney’s Office, Department of Police Accountability were contacted, were at the scene, and are conducting their independent investigations.
The SFPD’s Homicide Unit is conducting the criminal investigation and the Department’s Internal Affairs Unit is conducting the administrative investigation. Anyone who may have witnessed the incident transpire is asked to contact the SFPD.
To view the videos shown during the town hall meeting, use the links below: