Police Report in Blueford Shooting Raises Questions, Says Attorney
Ken A. Epstein
Originally published by the Oakland Post.
A local criminal attorney is raising questions after examining the police report in the shooting death of Alan Blueford by Oakland Police Officer Miguel Masso.
Meanwhile, Alameda County prosecutors last week released a report saying the police officer acted in self-defense and will face no criminal charges.
The partial police report was released two weeks ago, five months after the 18-year-old high school student was killed.
“It should not have taken the months it has already taken and continues to take,” said Walter Riley, a criminal defense and police misconduct attorney in Oakland since 1984.
“There were a finite number of witnesses available in the case,” he said. “The policeman who did the shooting and his partner, and the officers who arrived at the scene subsequently are all identifiable and accessible.”
The report that was released is missing the “shooter’s statement and the statement of his partner,” as well as crime scene photos and the ownership history of the gun that was found at the scene, Riley said.
A single thumbprint was found on the gun magazine, which is alleged to be Blueford’s, ”(But) we don’t have any further information,” Riley said, about the points of similarity that would indicate the likelihood the thumb print belonged to Blueford.
Nor is there information whether other fingerprints or DNA evidence were found on the weapon.
“There was no gun fight,” Riley continued. “Witnesses say he was shot while he was on the ground. He clearly did not fire a gun. It is disputed by family and some witnesses that he had a gun at any time.”
A witness reported, Riley said, that he heard Blueford speaking while on the ground. “He said he heard Alan say, ‘I didn’t do anything.’ That’s inconsistent with a dying person having a gun, but it is consistent with a dying person not threatening a police officer with a gun,” Riley said.
The Alameda County prosecutors 18-page says Officer Masso shot Blueford three times in the chest and left shoulder after the fleeing teenager pointed a loaded semiautomatic pistol at him.
“Officer Masso actually and reasonably believed that his life was in danger after he had made eye contact with Mr. Blueford and that if he did not shoot, he would be killed,” the report said.
The report quoted Masso as saying he “went into survival mode.”
In an angry written response to the report, the Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition this week said “(It) reveals a high level of bias and a shamefully inadequate demonstration of investigative methodology,” citing only witness statements that agree with the police version of the event.
The released Oakland police reports on the killing of Alan Blueford can be found at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/10/04/18723068.php#18723083