Fresno police officer Juan Avila shot Jaime Reyes, Jr. in the back as he fled police. Police recovered an unloaded stolen gun, wrapped in a plastic bag in his pocket. In addition to paying Jaime’s parents $2.2 million, the FPD agreed to change its Use of Force and Shooting policies to only allow officers to shoot when they are confronted by an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury. Previously, officers were permitted to kill someone who they thought could pose a potential threat in the future. All patrol staff will be retained about the necessity to ensure that every shot is necessary, to avoid extra needless gunshots. And investigators also will be retrained to consider witness statements that contradict officers’ statements, rather than just assuming that whatever the officer says is true. This hard-fought case took four years of work by Haddad & Sherwin to win and to begin to change the way the Fresno Police Department handles deadly force.
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