Family of Agustin ‘Augie’ Gonsalez demands accountability for fatal police shooting

Agustin "Augie" Gonsalez. (Courtesy of Gonsalez's family)

HAYWARD, Calif. — Earlier this week, Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price announced she is reopening eight fatal police shooting and in-custody death cases, including the case of Agustin “Augie” Gonsalez, who was fatally shot by two officers of the Hayward Police Department during a mental health crisis almost five years ago. His family issued a statement saying reopening the case is not enough.

“The officers responsible need to be held accountable,” the statement reads. “While we applaud the act of reopening this case, we hope that this act is accompanied with a conviction. We need the cops prosecuted, convicted, and stripped of their badges so they cannot continue to cause harm to the communities that they are sworn to protect.”

On Nov. 15, 2018, the 29-year-old father of two was fatally shot by Hayward Police Officers Phillip Wooley and Michael Clark, who were responding to a 911 call about a man with a knife. In reality, Gonsalez was having a mental health crisis and was holding a small safety razor blade, as he always did, for work; he was scheduled to work that night.

The officers shot Gonsalez about 7 or 8 seconds after exiting their cars because he took a few steps toward them.

“Augie was in a mental health crisis,” the family’s statement reads. “He needed help. Augie should have been met with compassion and care. Instead, his life was taken within just 7 seconds of the officers arriving on scene.”

Former District Attorney Nancy O’Malley in May 2019 concluded an investigation that determined there was not enough evidence to file criminal charges against the officers. Reopening the case is an opportunity to rebuild trust with families victimized by police brutality, but anything short of accountability will just be doing more harm, the family wrote.

“If we do not see Justice for Augie in this re-investigation, then Madam District Attorney has decided re-traumatize our family for nothing and is complicit with police terror,” the statement reads. “It is intolerable to re-traumatize families of police terror without justice and accountability.”

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