Sunday, September 24

‘Hero’ shot at taqueria by San Jose police files lawsuit

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — A man who wrestled a gun away from an assailant during a chaotic brawl inside a popular taqueria has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the police officer who shot him in the melee.

K’aun Green “bravely disarmed a gunman” and he was still holding the gun when half a dozen police officers arrived at the taqueria on March 27, Green’s attorneys said.

Green, 20, was shot four times by the officer, the lawsuit states. He is currently recovering from gunshot wounds.

“I’m in pain, I’m hurting inside and out,” Green said Thursday.

According to his attorneys, the police officer did not give Green a chance to drop the gun before the officer opened fire at La Victoria Restaurant, across the street from San Jose State University’s campus.

San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata has not yet released the officer’s name.

At the time of the shooting, the officer believed that there was likely an armed homicide suspect inside the taqueria, Mata said. A deadly shooting had just occurred by coincidence less than a block away.

Officers were working at the homicide scene when they saw panicked customers running out of the taqueria at 3 am, Mata said.

“While managing the homicide crime scene, officers were flagged down and called to deal with yet another firearm-related incident less than half a block away,” Mata said.

Green is not facing any criminal charges.

Brian Carter, the man who originally brought the ghost gun to La Victoria and brandished it during the brawl, was arrested for being a felon in possession of a ghost gun, according to Mata.

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Green was a three-time high school state football championship quarterback and current student-athlete at Contra Costa College in Pinole.

Contra Costa College athletic director John Wade said Green is an outstanding student-athlete.

“Everyone is stunned, basically, because he has been an outstanding young person on our campus and within our program,” Wade told KRON4.

In March, Green was being recruited by universities with Division-1 football teams with scholarship offers, the lawsuit states.

K’aun Green (Image courtesy Pointer & Buelna LLP)

“He has been an outstanding young man. They had a great season this year. They were 10 and 1. He was an All-League Player for us. (Green) had an opportunity to get a scholarship after only playing one year at this level to go to a four-year school,” Wade said.

Wade said the entire Contra Costa College community is praying for Green’s full recovery so he can continue to pursue his dreams of becoming an NFL player.

Civil rights attorneys Adanté Pointer, Patrick Buelna, and Angel Alexander of the law firm Pointer & Buelna, LLP filed the federal civil rights lawsuit this week against the City of San Jose and the unnamed police officer.

Green’s attorneys gave the following description of what happened before and during the officer-involved shooting:

  • “On March 27, Green and his friends were waiting for their food order when an unknown man approached Mr. Green and instigated a fight. The verbal confrontation turned physical when the man punched Mr. Green in the face.”
  • “The two men began to wrestle and fell to the ground. One of the assailant’s friends pulled a gun and pointed it at K’aun’s head. Mr. Green sprang into action, disarmed the gunman, and continued to fight off the repeated attempts to take the gun back.”
  • “Police arrived on the scene just as K’aun was inching backwards through the restaurant’s front door. He had his back to the assembled officers and was holding the gun above his head, in his left hand with the barrel of the gun pointed towards the sky.”
  • “Without warning or giving him a reasonable time to acknowledge the officers’ presence and/or respond to any commands, a single officer opened fire, striking K’aun four times in the left leg, arm, and abdomen. No other officer fired their gun,” the attorneys wrote.
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A police officer’s body camera recorded this image of K’aun Green holding the gun. (SJPD photo)

“K’aun Green is a hero! I have saved his life from him and the life of everyone else in that restaurant. Sadly, the police poorly responded and overreacted to simply seeing a black man holding a gun,” attorney Adanté Pointer wrote.

Surveillance cameras inside La Victoria recorded the brawl and police officers’ body cameras recorded Green’s encounter with police. Several witnesses recorded the officer-involved shooting with cellphone cameras.

Witnesses in the cellphone videos can be heard criticizing the police for being too aggressive.

san joseph brawl
A brawl breaks out inside La Victoria. (SJPD photo)

“We do not comment on incidents pending litigation,” police Sgt. Christian Camarillo told KRON4 on Thursday.

During a press conference held on March 29, Police Chief Mata gave the following description of what happened before and during the officer-involved shooting:

  • The homicide happened at 2:43 am on south Fourth Street near San Carlos Street. Officers found a man suffering from gunshot wounds and he was pronounced deceased at the scene. The killer fled on foot with the gun, and was likely still in the area.
  • Officers who responded to La Victoria believed that the brawl was connected to a homicide that had occurred just 30 minutes earlier, 200 feet away, on San Carlos Street, Mata said.
  • “(La Victoria Restaurant) was crowded with late night customers. Two groups became involved in a verbal argument with each other that escalated into a physical fight,” Mata said.
  • During the fight, one (man) produced a handgun and brandished it at another male. Seeing the gun, all of the occupants and employees began running out of the restaurant and yelling. A struggle for the gun ensues. The handgun changes possession more than once,” Mata said.
  • “An officer believes that an active shooter scenario is unfolding or about to unfold. A team of officers approached the restaurant on foot as the fight was continuing. The fight moved out of the front door and onto the landing, where one individual was holding the handgun. Officers gave repeated commands to drop the gun. However, (Green) does not drop the gun and one officer shot more than one time,” Mata said.
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