A rookie cop in San Francisco is facing homicide charges for his role in the 2017 shooting of an unarmed Black suspect, ABC7 reported.
In December of 2017, cops were in pursuit of Keita O’Neil, who was accused of stealing a California State Lottery van. They followed him to the Alice Griffith housing complex where he ran out of the vehicle and past patrol cars before he was shot and killed by Officer Christopher Samayoa.
“As other patrol cars closed in on him and blocked his path, Mr. O’Neil ran past the police car where Officer Samayoa was seated in the passenger seat,” San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said based on the body camera footage. “Officer Samayoa pointed his gun and shot Mr. O’Neil through the passenger side window of the patrol car, killing Mr. O’Neil.”
“Mr. O’Neil had no weapons, he was unarmed,” Boudin continued. “Body camera footage from other officers shows that not a single other officer pulled out their service weapon or pointed it at Mr. O’Neil. As a result of Officer Samayoa’s terrible, tragic and unlawful decision that day … Mr. O’Neil was killed.”
On Nov. 23, Boudin announced Samayoa was charged with voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, assault by an executive officer, assault with a semi-automatic firearm and negligent discharge of a firearm in connection to the shooting.
“As far as we are aware, this is the first-ever time that the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office has filed homicide charges against a law enforcement officer for a homicide while on duty,” he said. “This historic decision sends a message that I hope will be loud and clear. No one is above the law.”
Per O’Neil’s aunt April Green, his family is pleased to see that charges were filed against Samayoa. “I really am in hopes because the times have changed,” she said. “People are videoing, recording now, holding in accountability these officers, which is great, and I’m really hoping that this case will set a standard.”
Though it took three years to make any indictments, Samayoa was fired from the police department following a three-month investigation into the shooting. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.