There are some alarming developments in the case of the latest officer-involved shooting in Vallejo, including calls for an outside investigation.
Richmond Police Sgt. Virgil Thomas, who was off-duty at the time, shot 38-year-old Eric Reason during an argument over a parking space in a gas station Sunday night, according to authorities.
From the beginning, according to former law enforcement officer turned civil rights attorney Melissa Nold, police didn’t follow standard protocol. Thomas reaped advantages that aren't typically granted, Nold said.
“Officer-involved shootings require the person who shoots to have their gun removed. They’re taken off-scene. They’re sequestered,” Nold told KCBS Radio. “He actually got benefits that are far above what they would even give an officer in officer-involved shootings. In fact, I’ve never seen anything like this in my own personal law enforcement training and my eight years in working in police misconduct, specifically.”
In a photograph anonymously delivered to her, the officer who shot and killed Reason is standing over his body, taking a picture or video with his cell phone. Nold posted the photo to Facebook Tuesday.
“We’re all mortified,” she said. “It appears to us like he’s taking trophy pics.”
Nold said an independent probe is necessary because Vallejo police appear to have already contaminated the investigation into Reason’s death.
“We just want accountability and transparency,” she said. “At this point, we don’t have a full understanding of what happened and the things we are getting, the information we are getting appears to be inconsistent with witness statements.”
Calls from KCBS Radio to Vallejo police for comment were not returned.
The investigation will be the first test of Vallejo's new chief, Shawny Williams, who was sworn in Tuesday. He was formerly a deputy chief in the San Jose Police Department.