A federal jury began deliberating today on a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the mother and daughters of a disabled Oakland man who was fatally shot by San Francisco police in 2004.
Cammerin Boyd, 29, was shot by Officer Timothy Paine at the end of a police chase in the Western Addition district of the city on May 5, 2004.
Boyd had lost his legs below the knee as a result of a crash in a chase by the California Highway Patrol 11 years earlier. Boyd's mother, Marylon Boyd, and two daughters claim in a civil lawsuit against the city that he was surrendering at the time he was shot and that police used unconstitutional excessive force.
Lawyers for the city contend that Boyd, who allegedly had tried to kidnap a woman at gunpoint and shot twice at police during the chase, appeared to be reaching for a gun in his rented sport utility vehicle when he was killed.
The trial in U.S. District Court in San Francisco began six weeks ago. U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney put the case in the hands of the jury at midday after closing arguments were completed this morning.
Dale Galipo, a lawyer for the Boyd family, told jurors this morning that “it was a difficult situation for the police,” but said officers should have used their training to de-escalate the situation instead of shooting him once they had stopped his vehicle.
Galipo maintained the evidence showed Boyd “never had a gun in his hand at all” after his vehicle stopped on Larch Way in the Western Addition.
The attorney didn't suggest a figure of the amount of financial compensation sought andtold jurors it would be up to them to decide how much to award if they rule in favor of the Boyd family.
Galipo said a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs “will help bring closure to his two daughters and to his mother” and would send a message that “police officers have to do their job, but we don't want people unnecessarily killed.”
Deputy City Attorney Blake Loebs argued during his closing on Friday that the evidence was “overwhelming” that police had reason to believe Boyd was reaching into his vehicle for a gun when he was shot.
He said, “The danger those officers were in of Mr. Boyd killing them with that handgun were frightening.”
Loebs told the jury, “They should be honored for what they did, not persecuted. We should be proud of what they've done to protect all of us.”
The legal standard jurors must use in deciding the case is whether it was more likely than not that the officers used excessive force in the circumstances they were faced with.
— Bay City News