Today, on the 6th month anniversary of the killing of Luis Demetrio Góngora Pat, his widow and children have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against his killers, SFPD Sergeant Nate Steger and Officer Michael Mellone. At a press conference today at the site of his killing, the family’s attorney Adante Pointer presented the findings that supported the complaint filed.
Extracts from the Federal Civil Rights Complaint
“This civil rights and wrongful death action arises out of the April 7, 2016 unlawful killing of Mayan immigrant Mr. Luis Demetrio Góngora Pat by City of San Francisco Police Officer Michael Mellone and Sergeant Nate Steger. The two Officers shot and killed Mr. Góngora within 30 seconds of confronting him while he was peacefully sitting against a wall on the 400 block of Shotwell Street. In the aftermath of the shooting, Police claimed Mr. Góngora
charged and lunged at them with a knife. However, several eyewitnesses, video tape of the
incident and the physical evidence tell a much different story that contradicts the Officers’
version of events. Specifically, many of the less lethal bean bag rounds and several of the bullets that struck Mr. Góngora hit him in the back and on the right side of his body indicating he was not facing the Officers when they opened fire. In addition, surveillance video captured the Officers pointing their guns down toward the ground as they repeatedly fired their guns at Mr. Góngora. The onslaught left him riddled with bullets in his forehead, back, right arm and chest while leaving his wife a widow and his three kids fatherless.”
Statement of Facts
“On April 8, 2016, at approximately 10:00 a.m., Decedent Luis Góngora Pat was sitting on the ground, on the 400 block of Shotwell Street, in San Francisco, California.
17. City of San Francisco Police Sgt. Nate Steger, Officer Michael Mellone and a third yet-to- be-identifed Officer arrived on the 400 block of Shotwell after someone reported a man with a knife. The three Officers parked their cars in the middle of the street and rapidly approached Mr. Góngora, who was sitting on the ground, by himself, leaning against the exterior wall of a building and minding his own business. There were no civilians in Mr. Góngora’s vicinity and Mr. Góngora was not threatening or harming anyone. While Mr. Góngora is reported to have had a knife on his person for safety reasons; as is common among the homeless population, he was not wanted for any crime and was not a threat to himself or anyone else.
18. Mr. Góngora spoke Mayan and only understood a limited amount of English and Spanish. Despite the Officers’ claims they gave Mr. Góngora orders to “get on the ground” in both English and Spanish, on the video tape capturing the incident, the Officers can ony be heard giving orders in English. Witnesses recount Mr. Góngora remained crouched down on the ground with his head down, cowering in fear, unable to understand what the Officers were shouting.
19. The Officers quickly closed in on Mr. Góngora, abandoning all recommended deescalation tactics and failing to maintain adequate distance and space to properly assess the situation and avoid unnecessary force. While Mr. Góngora was sitting on the ground, one of the Officers came up to him and began rapidly discharging a rubber projectile shotgun, striking Mr. Góngora multiple times in the side and back area. After the officers began using force against Mr. Góngora they did not provide any additional commands or give Mr. Góngora the opportunity to comply with their initial orders. Mr. Góngora was injured from multiple rubber projectiles and tried to move away from his attacker, when a second officer began to shoot him with live ammunition. The two Officers were simultaneously pelting Mr. Góngora with lethal and nonlethal rounds from both sides, as he attempted to escape with his lfe.
20. The Officer who initially started shooting Mr. Góngora with rubber bullets transitioned to his handgun and began shooting the wounded man with live rounds. In a shocking visual image, the officer can be seen shooting down at the wounded man, with a handgun in one hand and a shotgun in the other, in a scene that is reminiscent of a gangster movie. The double fisted shooter can be seen on video shooting down at Mr. Góngora, who received bullet wounds to the top of his head and another down into his back, in addition to gunshots to both arms and his abdomen.
21. In less than 30 seconds of arriving on scene, Mr. Góngora had been hit with five (5) rubber projectiles and six (6) live rounds. Tellingly, a third officer was present on scene and did not even unholster his weapon or engage in any force whatsoever. Mr. Góngora died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds, leaving behind three adult children, a wife and an outraged community.”
News coverage of the filing
Family of Homeless Man Killed by SFPD Officers Files Federal Lawsuit, KQED
Family of Man Shot by Police Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit, Mission Local
SFPD hit with lawsuits by family of Luis Gongora Pat, Jasmine Abuslin, KPFA
Family of homeless man killed by San Francisco cops files federal suit, SF Chronicle
The following articles also continue news of the federal civil lawsuit filed by Luis Góngora’s family against his SFPD killers.
Mario Woods supporters march on Hall of Justice demanding to meet SF DA [Earlier in day family of Luis Gongora Pat files federal lawsuit], ABC7
Marchers Storm San Francisco DA’s Office, Demand Updates on Police Shootings, NBC
Mother Sues SFPD For Fatally Shooting Her Son Near Ballpark In 2014, CBS