Officer-involved shooting family asks San Francisco Police Commission
Lefiti family members attended the San Francisco Police Commission
meeting yesterday seeking answers as to why police officers shot
and killed Oliver Lefiti on June 25.
By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service
July 6, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - For the second consecutive meeting
of the San Francisco Police Commission, family members asked for
answers in a fatal officer-involved shooting.
This time, it was the brother and widow of Oliver Lefiti, 36,
who cried, yelled and pleaded for the police department to release
information in connection with his death on June 25, a day after
police shot him for allegedly driving a car at them.
According to police Sgt. Neville Gittens, officers were trying
to get Lefiti to come out of his car and surrender when he stepped
on the gas and drove straight at them.
But while Gittens said the officers were forced to shoot at the
oncoming vehicle, at least ten people came up in front of the
commission and said it was unnecessary and that Lefiti was a good
man and a father, not a drug dealer.
"You took him from me," said Wendy Lefiti, Oliver's
wife. "You took him from his 14-year-old son and his 7-year
Lefiti's younger brother Mike also spoke in front of the commission
wearing a black T-shirt with "To our big brother, Big 'O'"
written on the front.
The officers involved, four-year veteran Jamie Hyun and six-year
veteran Gerard Arquero, were immediately placed on administrative
leave after the incident.
In tonight's meeting, the commission met with Police Chief Heather
Fong in closed session for about thirty minutes as they decided
whether to reinstate the officers. The results of that meeting
were not released and the commission did not say why the information
would not become public.
The commission -- after watching a similar scene unfold two weeks
ago when relatives of Asa Sullivan, another man who died at the
hands of San Francisco police, pleaded for the same information
-- told Fong to provide the family with some basic facts regarding
The commission has been pushing the police department to finally
adopt a set of recommendations approved in 2004. The recommendations
call on the department to provide information to an officer-involved
shooting victim's family. Police are also supposed to provide
the family with an incident report and a victim and family assistance
"An unarmed man is still dead," said Dawn Edwards of
Bay Area Police Watch. "There's another family behind me
and they just lost a family member for what? The bottom line is
we have a police department who is supposed to serve and protect."
Police have not released new information in the case since the
incident. The original report states police received a call that
Lefiti, a South San Francisco resident, was selling drugs out
of his blue Honda in the Mission District.
Officers found Lefiti in his car around 5:55 p.m. on Capp Street
between 15th and 16th streets. The officers then parked in front
of Lefiti's car and told him to step out with his hands up. Instead
of complying, however, Lefiti drove at the two officers, forcing
them to shoot, according to Gittens. Lefiti died the next day.
Commissioners Joe Veronese and David Campos were not at tonight's
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