A federal suit filed last week claims that a 17-year-old boy was shot twice in the back by police in a Northern California city and that officers removed the bullets from his back by hand before paramedics arrived.
The suit, which was filed on Dec. 21, contradicts the Hayward Police Department’s account of events, claiming the teen injured in the gunfire did not pose a threat to officers.
Police responded to a report of looting and possible shots fired at a CVS location in Hayward, California, early in the morning on June 1 in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.
As police detained two men in a car, other vehicles began to exit the parking lot. One of the vehicles was driven by the 17-year-old Stockton teen, who is not named in the lawsuit. On a GoFundMe page created by Jael Barnes, who is the teen’s mother, Barnes identifies the boy as Jamaine.
Authorities claim Jamaine drove the car directly at Officer Samuel Tomlinson, and that Tomlinson fired because he believed the car would hit him. Another officer, Stephen Akacsos said he also fired his weapon because he thought his partner was in danger.
Jamaine allegedly crashed the car after the shooting and hid behind a bush until officers discovered him with medics called “a grazing wound” to his body. He was treated at a hospital and arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer.
In the account laid out by the legal filing, the teenager had spent the night before the shooting driving to a music video shoot in Oakland with his cousin. Jamaine reportedly fell asleep in the car, then woke up in the CVS parking lot to loud sounds. The claim says he then tried to call his cousin, but his phone was dead, so he climbed in the driver’s seat of the car and tried to leave the parking lot.
The suit claims the teen was not a threat to the officers and that officers removed the bullets from his body before paramedics arrived.
The teen’s attorney, Adante Pointer, said Jamaine didn’t hear commands to stop the vehicle and hid after the crash because he was afraid. The officers “took the bullets out and hauled him off to Juvenile Hall,” Pointer said. “It’s completely inappropriate and fortunately it didn’t cause more severe damage to him.”
Barnes described her son as a teen who has never been in trouble with the law, is a good student, and aspires to become a lawyer.
Barnes wrote on the GoFundMe page that Tomlinson stepped out of his patrol car to fire shots at the car Jamaine was driving, although police say the officer was already standing outside of the car, beside the vehicle.
“I feel like all they saw was a black face and just believed he did [a crime],” she said in June. “Not only does he now have these physical wounds, he has these mental wounds, as well, which will never go away.”
The charges against the teen have been dropped, his attorney reportedly claimed. Hayward City Attorney Michael Lawson declined to comment on the matter when asked by Mercury News.