Oakland resident Jesse Enjaian was shot and killed on February 17 after firing a rifle at residents of his Grass Valley neighborhood, but a disabled, homeless man who was targeted by the shooter claims days earlier said he was also harassed by members of the Oakland Police Department.
On Valentine’s Day, Patric Reddic, 30, was sleeping in his car near the gunman’s home on Las Vegas Ave., said attorney John Burris. In a press conference at his office, Burris told reporters that Enjaian fired into Reddic’s car just before 8am, smashing the windows, puncturing the dashboard and grazing his client’s head.
Reddic went to a neighbor’s home to call police; when he left, he found Enjaian standing across the street with his gun. Assuming Enjaian had come out in response to the gunshots, Reddic approached him for help.
“I was under the impression that he was outside because he’d heard the shots,” said Reddic. “He was the actual one that did the shots.” Enjaian acknowledged shooting Reddic, told him to get off his property, and used a racial slur, said Reddic. “I left with my hands up in the air, begging him not to shoot me.”
When police arrived, they handcuffed Reddic, patted him down and took him in for questioning. Reddic said he was taken into custody only after the officer who processed him was admonished by a colleague for “not doing his job.”
After Reddic positively identified Enjaian in a photo lineup, police returned him to his car (which had a flat tire, broken windows, and multiple bullet holes), warned him that "he was the problem" and that he could move his car or go to jail, said Burris.
Although there were multiple witness statements, Burris and Reddic said they don’t know why Enjaian wasn’t taken into custody after he was identified as the shooter on February 14.
Three days later, after firing a high-powered rifle into other cars and homes, Enjaian sparked a standoff that closed freeways and caused nearby schools to lock down their campuses. Alameda County officials have launched an internal investigation into why Enjaian wasn't detained after Reddic's made an ID.
When asked if he intends to sue the city, Burris said they were weighing their options, noting that new Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick "needs to be able to handle crises" and that this was an "opportunity to identify" issues of accountability and transparency within the department.
"The higher-ups should be on notice," said Burris, who also noted that "the rank-and-file made these decisions." Reddic is disabled as the result of a 2013 incident where he was a bystander in a robbery. “Is this how you treat the disabled here?" Burris asked.
Attorney Melissa Nold said Reddic has been the subject of “a dozen or more” incidents “of what we'd consider profiling against an unhoused person.” Nold spent much of the conference providing support and comfort to Reddic, who gave most of his statements to the gathered press through one of the attorneys on either side of him.
As an ideal outcome, "I would like to see justice for all the homeless, disabled, and African-Americans," said Reddic.
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