Nathaniel Pickett II Hearing – January 18, 2021, Noon Eastern

Transcript: Hearing on the Case of Nathaniel Pickett II

SPEAKERS

  • Rapporteur Marjorie Cohn
  • Commissioner Mr. Max Boqwana
  • Commissioner Judge Peter Herbert, OBE
  • Ms. Dominic Archibald, mother of Nathaniel Pickett II
  • Dale Galipo, attorney for the Pickett family
  • This transcript also contains audio from the night of the killing of Mr. Pickett. 

Marjorie Cohn  00:00

The International Commission of Inquiry on Systematic Racist Police Violence against People of African Descent in the United States; these hearings are a process by which witnesses can present accounts of the unjustified killings and maimings of black people by United States police officers before an international panel of human rights experts. We now begin the hearing in the case of Nathaniel Pickett II. My name is Marjorie Cohn and I am the rapporteur for this hearing. Presiding over this hearing today, our commissioners Max Boqwana of South Africa and Commissioner Peter Herbert of the UK and Kenya. The witnesses for this hearing are Dale Galipo, the lawyer for Mr. Pickett’s family, and Dominic Archibald, Mr. Pickett’s mother. There will be 50 minutes for this hearing. Witnesses will testify, followed by a period of questions from the commissioners. I will call time at the 30 minute mark, and at the 45 minute mark, please excuse my interruptions. There will also be a video played in the hearing. Commissioners Herbert and Boqwana, I now present to you the first witness Dale Galipo. I will swear in the witness. Mr. Galipo. Please confirm your name. Is Mr.  Galipo present?

Ms. Dominic Archibald  01:35

He is present but we don’t have his audio.

Charlotte Kates  01:39

His microphone is not working. If he is using a headset or another type of headphone. I would suggest he remove it. I’m not sure if he can hear us if his audio is not properly connected.

Ms. Dominic Archibald  01:56

May I begin speaking while he works that situation? Because be honest with you. I normally don’t watch this video that he is about to present.

Marjorie Cohn  02:05

Yes, that would be fine. Commissioners Boqwana and Herbert. I now present to you the second witness, Dominic Archibald. I will swear the witness. Miss Archibald, please confirm your name.

Ms. Dominic Archibald  02:21

My name is Dominic Archibald.

Marjorie Cohn  02:24

Do you promise that your testimony to the Commission of Inquiry will be true to the best of your knowledge and belief?

Ms. Dominic Archibald  02:31

Yes,

Marjorie Cohn  02:33

You may begin.

Ms. Dominic Archibald  02:36

Good afternoon, and thank you for this opportunity. My name is Dominic Archibald and I’m the mother of Nathaniel Nate Pickett II. I have been asked to write an impact statement, a statement presumably detailing the impact of the senseless killing of my son by San Bernardino County Sheriff Kyle Hayden Woods. I doubt that I have or will ever have the true ability to write or speak about the overwhelming impact of this murder. Nate was my only child. He was my legacy, my faith in the present moment, and my hope for the future. Can I ever put this impact into words? Would anyone ever understand?

For me, that answer is no. Each person is unique, special and extraordinary. Although they are not what the world may see is perfect. But regardless of this, Nate was my perfect gift from God. When Nate was killed, every hope and dream in my head was destroyed, taken and relegated to a statistic, a statistic that doesn’t matter much in the United States of America. According to a 2015 article in The Guardian, for decades, there was no system in the US to keep records of police killings. Now that records are kept it has not made a difference. In 2015, The Washington Post recorded nearly 1000 police shootings annually. This high rate of deaths continues.

What no one has been able to report is a significant prosecution rate of law enforcement officers who have perpetrated these shootings regardless of the facts. This is largely because of qualified immunity, police unions and the law enforcement officers’ bill of rights. This is a supplementary protection and privilege for law enforcement from investigations and prosecutions in addition to those normally provided to other citizens. Why does this group have added rights above the Bill of Rights?

Nate was walking home from a store when he apparently walked in the crosswalk in accordance with the light in front of the service car that the deputy was driving. Apparently seeing a tall black male the deputy may have profiled him and assumed that he was a criminal. He, the deputy, made a U-turn and followed Nate onto the grounds of the motel where he was residing. The deputy, who was accompanied by a civilian ride-along, had reportedly only recently completed his probationary period. He was as close to the training that everyone says will make the difference as any new recruit. So training most likely was not the issue. Deputy was at one point said that he stopped Nate on a consensual stop. He said that he stopped Nate because he saw him jump a fence. Which one was it? How did this consensual or casual stop turn into an attempted arrest, an arrest for absolutely no reason? It was a consensual stop that Nate was authorized to leave. Nate turned, ran, tripped and he was beaten by the deputy and the civilian. The deputy then shot Nate twice a close range. No first aid was administered and no medical backup was called. Before the sun rolls a fire truck came to the scene and washed away all the evidence.

The deputy said that Nate jumped the fence, became belligerent when stopped and questioned, struck him, struck him, Nate struck the deputy repeatedly, and he had to use deadly force to save himself.  The story was relegated to an inch by inch news story in a small town newspaper. In that story, as is standard, Nate was villainized. More time seems to be spent looking for negatives on the victim or creating a narrative that makes the deceased the offender then getting facts and evidence. Regardless of the false narrative, the deputy did not know that there were 16 working cameras that would decisively disprove his version. So he simply changed the story. He said he stopped Nate because he looked at him several times very quickly and suspiciously as he crossed the street. The deputy fabricated a story and changed it when it did not work for him. I guess that was one of his rights.

Is my son dead because he looked at someone? Where were his rights? Records indicate that the deputy never went on as much as administrative leave. Before the civil trial in Nate’s case, the deputy shot another person six times. It finally appears he was taken off the streets, not fired or placed on administrative leave, just moved to another assignment. In accordance with California Senate Bill 1421, peace officers’ release of records, I requested the deputy’s file. At that time, the county of San Bernardino and the sheriff’s department simply disregarded my request. I asked a for grand jury. That request was disregarded also. Is this more exercise of their rights?  There was a civil trial. During that trial, I listened to my son on the deputy’s audio belt, politely asked his killer what the problem was. He politely asked if he could leave. This is what we teach our young men to do. But it still did not matter. The jury opted for a large judgment. But you do not get all that money. It is an indication of the egregiousness of the crime and that the jury saw through the lies.

Unfortunately, whatever is charged to the law enforcement agent is immediately dismissed. No liability and no accountability. Then the municipality wants to negotiate and reduce their amount. Really, it does not matter. You could never pay me for my child. Whatever comes is just a down payment on justice. The jury also determined in less than three hours that the deputy was fully responsible for Nate’s death, and my son had no blame in his own fatality. The county lost badly using the false narratives and erroneous investigations they labeled as the official report. Literally, their expert witnesses were some of our best witnesses. I was certain this was grounds for criminal trial. However, one person, the presiding district attorney, decides who will be prosecuted. In this case, the first DA, Mike Ramos held up the investigation. My opinion, seemingly obstructing justice, with the view to becoming the next state attorney general. Many of us worked hard to vote him out. When his term was up, we used the system, but it did not matter. 

I met with the incoming DA, Jason Anderson. He most likely did not read the report and said that it had already been investigated, and there was no need to take further action. I asked him if he meant the report that cost them 10s of millions of dollars in a last civil case and placed San Bernardino County on record for the highest recorded judgment at that time, the one that provided now public information on the actions of Kyle Hayden Woods But that was his right, the DA, to not prosecute. One man had the right to say no, more rights than my son received before being killed, and I received, in my rights in my fight for justice for him.

I am a retired Army officer. I was stationed at the Pentagon on 911. I am a two time combat veteran. I have been to Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. We have more stringent rules of engagement and human rights requirements against the known enemy than law enforcement has in the streets of America, I understand. I do not understand why law enforcement only needs to say they were afraid for their lives, and it becomes a defense. If you are so afraid perhaps you need to find another location. I was willing to wait lay down my life for the rights of all people, rights that my son was denied. Even when there’s a public outcry, protest marches, politicians grandstanding, there is no change. There is a long history of travesties of justice in our community. We still march in 2020, for many of the same reasons that those who came before us marched for in 1920. For centuries, we have died with no justice.

Lawyers facilitate cases for a price but won’t go up against unions and DAs.  I know it is a tough battle with no financial payoff. But where are the Thurgood Marshall, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Bernard Cohen’s who took on cases to change unfair laws and practices and right wrongs? The impact, the impact of my son Nate was that he lost his life. In the final moments of the only life he had, my only child was stopped, beaten, and terrorized like a dog. Nate is one of many cases, since the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, there have been many police killings. We need justice in every case, in all cases, we don’t need extra rights and half hearted discussions of war training for law enforcement officers who are paid to protect and serve and still shoot instead, kill our loved ones. It may not be possible to train away prejudices and so called rights that come with the position.

We need them to be held accountable in a criminal trial for criminal acts. There is not a statute of limitations on murder. And there are long statute of limitations on manslaughter. My son had a civil right to social freedom and a human right to life. What is the impact? Loss of both of those with no remedy? And it’s just as a disclaimer, there are rights for everyone but Nate. And I understand that the word murder has a legal definition, there is no intent for slander. And I make that because I know sometimes law enforcement officers after killing our loved ones come back and sue if we say the wrong thing. Nevertheless, as a layman and a mother, murder means to me that my son was killed. I know who killed him, and that person has not been held accountable.

Marjorie Cohn  13:22

Thank you, Ms. Archibald. I would now like to turn it over to the commissioners for questions.

Dale Galipo  13:30

Is my microphone working or not yet?

Ms. Dominic Archibald  13:33

It is working.

Marjorie Cohn  13:34

It is working, Mr. Galipo. We will have questions of Ms. Archibald and then we will turn to your testimony. Thank you.

Max Boqwana  13:44

Thank you very much, and and thanks very much to Dominic, for for such a presentation. And I think for us that presentation puts the reality of the impact of what we are talking about to a human being, to understand we’re not dealing with the statistics. But I’m quite happy and impressed the way she has presented this to us. I will ask Peter to start with the with the questioning.

Judge Peter Herbert, OBE  14:25

Ms. Archibald, thank you, and I know every time you speak, this must be deeply upsetting. I watched the video earlier today of your son’s murder. And it was shocking in its callousness. And the speed with which it went from being a very politely responded to inquiry to intrusive police behavior to an overwhelming use of force. And then when the people arrived, the first responders supposedly arrived on the scene, they appeared to spend more time consoling the officer who had fired the shot and the deputy rather than actually trying to save your son’s life. So I, I heard and saw at least some of that. My question in a sense is that this should not be just another talking shop. And therefore, if there was one thing that you would require law enforcement across the United States to do or not to do, that could be enforced and could be legislated for a what would that be if you had that within your power to do?

Ms. Dominic Archibald  15:42

When an officer kills a person, just as if I killed a person, that individual in my opinion, must be placed on trial. Let’s let the facts come out in court, let a jury decide based on facts and evidence, whether or not that independent individual should be prosecuted and convicted. When police officers, sheriffs, other law enforcement agencies know that they are completely covered, and there is no accountability. And they make no effort to diminish the numbers as we can see by statistics, and our loved ones who are taken by those who are paid to protect and serve.

Judge Peter Herbert, OBE  16:36

Thank you very much. Yes, Max.

Max Boqwana  16:41

Thanks, Dominic. And thanks, Peter, I just wanted to check, Dominic, will you ever want to meet the perpetrators of this crime? And what will you say to them, if you ever met with them,

Ms. Dominic Archibald  16:59

I actually set with the perpetrator. During the time that they gave their deposition, he sat in a chair, I sit in a chair, I watched his body language, I listened to what he had to say, no concern, in my opinion, no remorse, no care. He had been prepped, I think he knew at that time, nothing was going to happen. He just needed to come in and say whatever he had to say, and then go back home and continue his life, which is what has continued to occur.

Max Boqwana  17:33

So on the other side, over and above the fact that there seems to be no justice, there’s also no closure on this matter.

Ms. Dominic Archibald  17:43

I mean, when we use the word justice, the only justice is that my son would be returned to me. But there can be closure if a person is at least held accountable. And that is what we lack in this system. I mean, the system is stacked against us. The system is what is where the first problem is. And because law enforcement knows, I mean, I’m sure that they’re taught this in the very beginning, that you are protected by police shootings and qualified immunity, you’re protected. Just go out there and do your job. And if you shoot this person, or another person, as I said, this same person went out and shot someone else six times. Not that long after he killed Nate.

What happened? No accountability. And he is not the only law enforcement officer who has shot at or killed a person, more than one person, in the line of duty. Honestly, there are police officers who have never even had to drop a weapon. Why is it that some feel like they can just go out and keep? there’s a problem there. But there’s a problem with no remedy for at this time in the system.

Max Boqwana  18:58

Thank you very much. Peter, and I think there’s it’s quite clear, Peter, that one of the problems with the system is this solidarity of the wicked. And we need to find a way how do you unbundle that solidarity of the wicked, because there is no reason that when people have done wrong, they need to coalesce and protect each other. Peter, your next question?

Judge Peter Herbert, OBE  19:25

Yes, thank you. All right. I’m gonna go, I think. Listening to you, one of the things that you said, as a serving person with a military background previously, is that you had more rules of engagement about the drawing of weapons than police officers appear to have with members of the African American community. And is that a possible one and I’d say it’s the only thing and certainly not a panacea, after the appalling, the appalling murder of your son. But is that one of the mechanisms, if there is a protocol? The use of any use of force, but particularly of lethal force, that if you’ve reached that, that must be your law as opposed to something that is a mere happenstance.

Ms. Dominic Archibald  20:19

Of course, I mean, there should always be, anytime someone is authorized to carry a weapon, there should be very specific rules of engagement. But I think that what happened, for example, in Nate’s case, is that this deputy, invoked this rule of engagement, even though the circumstances did not exist. So as I said before, in my statement, it is it is very difficult when people say, Oh, well, maybe there needs to be a little more training, if the issue is a prejudice, or if the issue is the belief that I have power. I’m the law enforcement officer or I have this right. Those are things that training in my opinion, will not rectify. So I think that there has to be accountability.

I believe, and I think a lot of people in the community believe, that if officers are held accountable. You put one on trial, and that person is convicted. And then the next one is convicted, based on the facts of the case, based on evidence, not just to make, if you will, just for show, but actually based on evidence, that people that wear that badge and carry those weapons will begin to understand there’s a consequence to my actions. I’m not going to pull out that weapon so quickly, because I know that there’s a consequence, that I could be prosecuted convicted, end up on the other side of the jail cell, of the bars. And I just I just don’t see where that exists at this point. So yes, they should, of course, be rules of engagement. But more than that, that when you fail to follow those rules of engagement or if there’s questions, that there’ll be a prosecution.

Marjorie Cohn  22:12

If there are no further questions, we will turn to our second witness. Thank you, Miss Archibald. Commissioners, Herbert and Boqwana, I now present to you the second witness, Dale Galipo. I will swear in the witness. Mr. Galipo. Please confirm your name.

Dale Galipo  22:44

Yes, my name is Dale Galipo.

Marjorie Cohn  22:47

Do you promise that your testimony before the Commission of Inquiry will be true to the best of your knowledge and belief? You may begin.

Dale Galipo  23:00

Thank you, and a good day to all of you. It’s ironic we’re having this on Martin Luther King Day, because Martin Luther King to me was probably the greatest human being that ever lived, during my lifetime. I am a civil rights attorney in California. I’ve handled hundreds of police shooting cases. To give you an idea, at any one time, my law firm handles 60 different police shooting cases, most of which are people of color, and a significant number are members of the African American community. I was honored to represent Dominic Archibald in this case, as you can tell how intelligent and well spoken she is. And quite frankly a great spokesperson for the cause. I’d like to give you a little bit more about the details of the evidence in the case that I thought was important, at least from the perspective of a trial attorney.  The first issue was why did they stop Nate? There’s a concern for racial profiling, a concern for stopping someone driving while black. I have a case where someone’s riding a bicycle white black, in this case. Interestingly, Nate was crossing the street in a marked crosswalk, had not committed any crime. In his initial statement, the officer said he kind of glanced at me as he was crossing in the marked crosswalk. By the time of his deposition, he said that Nate looked at him 10 different times in a matter of 10 seconds, which made him suspicious.

Interestingly, his ride along never even saw Nate crossing the street in the marked crosswalk in front of the patrol vehicle and the ride along was sitting in the front. Then, to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause for the stop, the officer in the statement said, Nate ran from him, hopped a gate, which was locked, into a location called El Rancho where Nate lived. And he claimed he thought Nate was trespassing. He later admitted he never saw Nate hopped the fence, and the gate was not locked. And then the conversation started. He claimed it started as a consensual encounter. As Dominic pointed out, meaning you don’t have to talk to the officer. It’s consensual. The person has a right not to talk, walk away or run away. Nate talked to him, as you can hear on the audio, and was very polite, gave him his name, his date of birth, asked the officer if he had done anything wrong. The officer repeatedly said no, but quickly asked him if he was on probation or parole or ever been arrested before. These are not the types of quick questions that you would ask someone just to see if they’re doing okay.

The officer claimed that he had reasonable suspicion to detain Nate and probable cause to arrest him on three points.  One, trespassing. Well, it turned out that Nate lived there. And in fact, his mother helped him get that place and he had the key to the facility in his pocket. Yet even at the time of trial, they tried to argue that he didn’t legally live there, which I thought lost a lot of credibility with the jury. Second, they thought Nate was under the influence of a stimulant. They never mentioned that in the audio, and the toxicology was clean. Third, they claim Nate was resisting the officer, obstructing his investigation by refusing to give his correct name, while the audio of the incident proved otherwise. Importantly, the officer that escalated the incident by attempting to grab Nate, he didn’t tell Nate to put his hands behind his back. He didn’t tell me I’m going to rush you for anything. He just suddenly and unexpectedly went to grab Nate. in fear. Nate tried to move and run away from the officer fell down some steps that were very close by very hard, hard enough to injure himself.

The officer immediately pulls out his taser threatened to tase Nate, you can hear Nate on the audio saying what for. And then the officer started the physical confrontation and started punching Nate forcefully at the body, head and face. The struggle continued for a short period of time, suddenly you hear the officer yell out, I’m going to shoot you, I’m going to shoot you. And then you hear the shots, two shots a few seconds apart. What excuse to the officer give for shooting. This really is the heart of the issue in my mind. Officers will always give a reason for using force. Subjective fear is insufficient. It cannot be the standard.  So as a lawyer, I look very carefully at the reason the officer gave and to see whether or not it truly is objectively justified. You officer essentially gave two main reasons for shooting Nate. Number one, the officer said Nate had punched him 10 to 20 times full force punches in the face and the head and the officer was losing consciousness and was concerned if he lost consciousness, Nate would grab his gun and kill him and perhaps his partner.

The video was difficult to see, I in watching the video could not see any punches delivered from Nate to the officer but I could see punches delivered from the officer to Nate. The ride along who witnessed some of the incident conceded he never saw Nate punching the officer. Another witness, a gentleman named Kennedy, whose deposition was taken, observed some of the incident, never saw Nate punching the officer. The officer had a picture taken of him afterwards, after the incident of his face. And I would submit to you and I don’t know if you can see this picture, it is not the picture or the face of someone who has been punched 10 to 20 times in the face. Then there was a video and the video was broken down by an expert, frame by frame, 28 frames per second. The expert conceded before the jury — and this was a defense expert — in studying the video frame by frame, he could see the 10 to 20 punches by the officer to Nate. But he could not see one punch in any frame of the video from Nate to the officer, zero punches.  We also were able to show, how could the officer have been unconscious, if he was doing all the things he did, giving commands, pulling out his gun, pointing his gun, shooting Nate, calling in that shots were fired afterwards.

So we believe the jury and any reasonable trier of fact, in looking at the facts, would clearly conclude that the officers claim that Nate punched him 10 or 20 times forcefully in the head was completely untrue. And that’s, quite frankly, what district attorney’s offices need to do. They can’t just take the officer’s account of it, they have to look at the evidence carefully and wait to see whether or not what they’re saying is actually supported by evidence or just something they were told to say. In this case, the officer did not give a statement for 28 days after the incident. And when he gave the statement, he had attorneys present, implicitly preparing him and suggesting what he should say, to try to defend this unjustified shooting.  The second reason that they gave for shooting was that Nate was grabbing the officers gun. That was the second version they gave. And once again, we were able to show that never occurred. First of all, it’s never seen on the video. Second of all, the ride along never saw it, third of all witness Kennedy never saw it. There was no fingerprints on the gun. There was no DNA on the gun. The officer never yelled out that he was grabbing for his gun.

In fact, there’s an audio when the arriving officer arrived, trying to figure out why the shooting occurred. He asked Kyle Woods, did he go for your gun? Almost suggesting that might be the the playbook plan here to say. The officer said quote, “I don’t know.” Well, by the time of trial, they tried early on to stick with that version. But once we discredited them before the jury, by the end of the trial, they practically abandoned that theory of the case because they realized that no one was going to believe it. Another thing that was interesting forensically in the case was that the officer claimed that the muzzle of his gun was two or three feet away from Nate when he fired the two shots because he was pulling his gun back trying to protect it from Nate grabbing him. The medical examiner who testified indicated both shots were had muzzle stamps on them so that the gun had to be pressed into the chest of Nate. At the time of the discharge of the shots it could not have been separated even by a few inches. The other thing that was interesting with respect to the medical care claim was that the officer never called for medical care for Nate after he shot him twice at point blank range. 

The officer’s claim was that he didn’t know Nate had been shot. And you know, and here’s an officer who fired two shots in his chest at point blank range. Nate was laying next to him motionless, bleeding to death. And the officer claimed he didn’t know he was shot, in my opinion had this case been criminally prosecuted, and it should have been, and it still should, that a jury would have convicted Kyle Woods of murder. Now keep in mind, there’s different classifications of homicide, there’s first and second degree murder in California. There’s also manslaughter. And manslaughter is very important because one of the elements of manslaughter is if an officer believes he’s shooting in self defense or using force in self defense, but that belief is unreasonable, it’s manslaughter. And so the decision doesn’t always have to be should we charge murder or not? The decision could be, maybe manslaughter is an appropriate charge.

And in these egregious cases, I agree that if there is more prosecutions, officers across the country, in the world, will take note that their actions, they will be held accountable. And nowadays thankfully, we have more cell phone videos,  body cams and audios, and this is the first time, over the last 5 or 10 years, for the most part that the general public has been able to actually see what’s going on in these cases. And I think it’s been very enlightening.

So my heart goes out to Dominic. She’s a wonderful person, and one of the greatest clients I’ve ever had. And I know she’s so disappointed that there isn’t prosecution. We even went together to the district attorney with trial transcripts and all the evidence after we won, which I believe is the largest verdict in the history of the United States in a police shooting case, and he still would not press criminal charges. And I know Dominic will not give up her fight for justice for her son, or for other people similarly situated. So that’s generally some of the basic facts of the case.

Marjorie Cohn  35:57

Thank you, Mr. Galipo. There are now 14 minutes left in the hearing. I now turn it over to the commissioners for questions.

Judge Peter Herbert, OBE  36:10

Thank you very much. But the facts that I read are even more shocking when repeated in a very analytical way. The questions I have are two, if I can, and excuse my ignorance from not having practiced in the US. Firstly, is it possible to what they call in the United Kingdom, judicially review the decision of the prosecutor to refuse to prosecute? We have some system whereby, in certain circumstances if that decision is so unreasonable, when necessary and reasonable, they call it that no reasonable prosecutor appraised of the facts would fail to prosecute. That’s one. And secondly, is there any possible avenue for conducting a private prosecution.

When the black teenager Stephen Lawrence was murdered in 1992, in the United Kingdom, we did some of my compatriots, Michael Mansfield, Tyler Moore, among others, did mount to try to mount a private prosecution against the the the assailants, not police officers, but the assailants who were known. And were eventually some of them were eventually convicted, some 20 years later. So those are just some legalistic type type questions I have for you.

Dale Galipo  37:25

Both very good questions, you know, our system, at least here in California, we have a separate state system and federal system. In the state system, the state prosecutors really have all of the power and discretion, as Dominic indicated, whether to charge. It’s very difficult to get that decision reviewed, the federal authorities separately, could prosecute, and we have been approaching them to do so in this case, but and sent them the transcripts, but so far they have not done so. I also have recently, more recently, become aware of this notion you’re talking about, about having a private prosecution, which, quite frankly, being a civil rights attorney, I really was not aware of. And I had been looking into that not only for this case, but for others, to see what it would take to actually do that, where you can almost override the government prosecutor who refuses to prosecute the police who they work with on a daily basis, and do a private prosecution. So that’s something that I have been looking into. And I may be discussing that with Dominic as time goes on.

Max Boqwana  38:45

Thank you very much. I think I think that route of private prosecution, indeed, is an option that needs to be looked at, and what is being advanced as the reason for not prosecuting at the present moment?

Dale Galipo  39:03

Well, initially, you know, like so many of these cases, and as I mentioned at the outset, I’ve seen hundreds of them. I, I don’t even know why, for the most part, the prosecutors review the cases. I have a few lawyers that work for me now who did an internship in the DHS office in California, where one of their responsibilities was to review any police shooting case. And the whole goal of the office was to not ever prosecute a police officer in a shooting case. So they would just write it up so that they would accept all the facts. So if you read this review, it would be the evidence is that Nate punched the officer 10 or 20 times in the face, the officer was about to lose consciousness.

And Nate was trying to take the officers gun to kill him. And based on those facts and the law, we will not prosecute. So they just accept whatever they’re given as the truth without any investigation without discerning the facts. So the state prosecutor has refused to prosecute. The federal prosecutor showed some minimal interest. We sent him all the transcripts. And we have not heard back. I believe, and you heard Dominic, she will never give up her fight to get justice for her son, and to get prosecution of the officer.

Marjorie Cohn  40:37

Mr. Galipo, would you like to use the segment of the video now?

Dale Galipo  40:43

Yeah, we can we can show a portion of it. I think a lot of the people watching are probably interested to see it.

Marjorie Cohn  40:51

Okay, can we have the video played now please?

Video audio  40:53

Police: Main and first on a BMA.. [sounds, inaudible]. Hey sir, can I talk to you? Can I talk to you for a sec, sir? I just want to talk to you, see how your night was going. That was it. Do you mind taking your hands out of your pockets for me? I just want to talk to you for a bit. Now, dude, are you on parole or probation? No? Do you have any ID on you? Do you have any weapons on you or anything? Do you mind if I pat you down real quick? Just make sure you don’t have anything?
Nathaniel Pickett II: I ain’t doing nothing, man. I don’t have a problem. What’s the problem, man?
Police deputy: Just stopped to talk to you. 
Nathaniel Pickett II: Well, I’m alright.
Police: Can I get your name?
Nathaniel Pickett II: Nate.
Police: Nate what?
Nathaniel Pickett II: Pickett.
Police: Pickett?
Nathaniel Pickett II: Yeah.
Police How do you spell it?
Nathaniel Pickett II: What’s the problem?
Police: Like I said, I just stopped to talk to you. Pickett, and first name Nate?
Nathaniel Pickett II: Yes.
Police: What’s your birthday, Nate?
Nathaniel Pickett II: 7/3/86.
Police: 7/3 of 86?
Nathaniel Pickett II: Yeah.
Police: And your last name’s spelled, PIGGET?
Nathaniel Pickett II: Yeah – no.
Police: All right Nate, go ahead and turn around for me.
Nathaniel Pickett II: No, man.
Police: Don’t do this.
Nathaniel Pickett II: I’m not doing anything!
Police: Turn around! Turn around or you’re going to get tazed! Turn around or you’re going to get tazed! Turn around!
Nathaniel Pickett II: For what, man?!
Police: Turn around! Turn around! Turn around! Turn around! Stop resisting! Give me your hands! Turn around! [sounds of struggle] I’m going to shoot you! I’m going to shoot you!
[shots fired] [shouts of pain]

Dale Galipo

So that, so there was just so the audience knows, and the commissioners, that was — there was audio from the officer’s belt recorder. And there was some surveillance video from the facility, and those two, by an expert, were synced together so that you can listen to the sound and see what was going on. Also, the encounter was about 12 minutes long. What you saw was the first 60 seconds where he said hey, how you doing? Are you on probation or parole? You know, nice way to greet someone at night. And then after he gave his name and date of birth, it went to the end of the encounter when the shooting happened. So there was about probably eight minutes of dialogue in between where Nate continually asked him, can I go? I just want to go home. Did I do anything wrong? What’s the problem? And I just wanted to give you that background.

Marjorie Cohn  45:30

Thank you, Mr. Galipo. We have five minutes remaining in the hearing.

Judge Peter Herbert, OBE  45:41

I just wanted to ask one question. What was the ethnicity of the officer who killed  Dominic’s son?

Dale Galipo  45:49

Well, I think he was of mixed ethnicity. I’m not sure. Again, his picture. I think he’s a part African American. But it was — I was not sure about that. One of the things that was also interesting is in the beginning of the call, he says I’m out with a BMA, which stands for black, male adult. So he was asked, Well, how many times do you do these consensual encounters of people when they’ve committed no crimes? He said, Oh, hundreds of times. So you can imagine it’s a slow night, he sees a young African American male just minding his own business. And he wants to approach him and ask him about his criminal record. In my mind, I believe that’s racial profiling.

Judge Peter Herbert, OBE  46:39

I’ve got just a slight follow up. You know, I met years ago with African American law enforcement agency officers in the US and Washington and in California. And we’ve got a Black Police Association in the United Kingdom. Initially, there was a lower degree of stop and search or racial profiling amongst African, Caribbean and Asian officers. But over the years, my strong suspicion is, there’s actually very little difference between what Black officers do and what white officers do, given that they’re in that same culture. And I just wondered if that is something that is your experience in the cases that you’ve dealt with?

Dale Galipo  47:22

Yes, it is, it is actually exactly my experience, I think there’s very little difference. And that gets part of the problem with the culture. You know, not only is the training inadequate, but the culture, it’s really a matter of protecting your fellow officers and avoiding any accountability, and us versus them. That’s the problem with the lack of trust between the community and law enforcement, at least here in the United States, which is why people have taken to the streets in protest. And I’m very hopeful that we could find some method of unification, because this is a very serious problem. And I think the work that all of you are doing is really to be commended, because it’s very, very important work. And I commend all of you for what you’re doing. And thank you.

Judge Peter Herbert, OBE  48:16

Thank you very much. Can I just say, just just generally, the committee or Max, I don’t wanted to lose this, is that from a South African point of view, as a commissioner, I really think if we can, as organizations, assist with private prosecutions of police officers in the pan-African and the progressive perspective on the international community, I think that needs to be explored as a matter of urgency. So I just wanted to raise that. Thank you.

Max Boqwana  48:44

Thanks, Peter, for that. Just the last question, which might be related to what Peter has just said, I mean, you’ve seen a person like Dominic is a very, very strong woman. What are the chances of using her position and the number of racially profiled persons that have been killed that you have acted for their families, putting together a something like mothers’ coalition or something, that can be a solidarity of all of the mothers of the victims, it can be a reference point, but it can also be a kind of an instrument that can be utilized to pursue some of these cases, maybe to take to take further in a number of those cases, which Peter is talking about.

Dale Galipo  49:40

I think it’s an excellent idea. There are some organizations. I know Dominic has been assisting several, but I think it has to be done on a broader, more organized scale. And I think Dominic would be a tremendous spokesperson of for the organization on behalf of so many. I know she’s really made it a calling in her life now to pursue the injustices that are taking place, not just against her son, but against people in general. And that’s something I think we’re going to try to follow up on.

Marjorie Cohn  50:16

Thank you, Mr. Galipo. This concludes the hearing of Nathaniel Pickett II. Hearings will resume tomorrow.

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