Contra Costa County Man Shot by Police Officers Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit

April 25, 2014 21:32 pm · 57 comments

A man who was shot and injured by Lafayette police officers last year has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the two officers involved, the city, police chief and Contra Costa County.

“My law office has handled a number of police shooting cases over the years, and I would have to say this is the most egregious case we have ever seen in terms of there being literally no justification for shooting someone in the gut and leg as they did in this case,” said Stan Casper, the attorney representing 29-year-old Michael Schock.

The shooting happened in front of Schock’s family home in the 3400 block of Woodview Drive on the morning of April 2, 2013, according to police.

Lafayette police officers Steve Harrison and Michael Marshall were dispatched to the home after a 911 hang-up call from the residence.

Schock, who had been “suffering from emotional problems,” had thrown a computer and some other personal items out of a bedroom window but calmed down well before the two officers arrived, according to his attorney, Stan Casper.

Once there, the two officers saw Schock at the front door and ordered him to empty his pockets, Casper said.

Schock took a penknife out of his pocket, which his sister’s live-in boyfriend, James Marin, then took from him and showed to police.

The officers ordered Marin to come out of the house, detained him, patted him down and handcuffed him.

Schock, “partly as a result of his fragile emotional state, feared for the safety and condition” of Marin and exited the house with a small broom in hand and started running toward the officers, according to the complaint.

Harrison attempted to use his Taser on Schock but was unsuccessful, the complaint states.

Schock then dropped the broom voluntarily and continued toward the officers, who retreated down the stairs leading up to the home.

“Officer Harrison then removed his service firearm and shot (the) plaintiff, who was clearly unarmed, at close range in his abdomen and thigh,” the complaint reads.

Schock was taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, where he underwent surgery and remained for 14 days, according to the complaint.

His leg was badly fractured and he lost part of his intestine due to his injuries, Casper said.

“Under the circumstances, he’s lucky to be alive,” his attorney said.

Schock was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, exhibiting a deadly weapon, making criminal threats and obstructing an officer. He was arraigned on the charges in Contra Costa County Superior Court and is out of custody and awaiting his preliminary hearing on May 1, according to Casper.

Harrison was placed on administrative leave in accordance with police protocol. It was not immediately known whether he has returned to work.

At the time, police said Schock had threatened the officers with a knife and a “blunt object.”

However, Casper said he believes the two officers were well aware that his client was unarmed.

“They should have been trained to know how to use non-lethal force if they felt they needed to,” he added.

Lafayette police Chief Eric Christensen said this afternoon that he had not seen the lawsuit and therefore could not comment on it.

The city contracts with Contra Costa County for police services. The lawsuit filed in federal court on Thursday is seeking unspecified damages. None of the defendants have responded to the complaint in court.

1 imma lawyer April 25, 2014 at 10:03 PM

Stan Casper is the new John Burris

2 dave April 25, 2014 at 10:15 PM

They should have been trained to know how to use non-lethal force if they felt they needed to,” he added. Kinda true. Police should be able to take down a guy in some fashion in a non lethal way.

3 Anonymous April 25, 2014 at 10:22 PM

Attorney BS

4 funny man April 25, 2014 at 11:02 PM

shoulda just offered em some oxy, works in concord

http://youtu.be/-qEr_mZf06Y

time to make em wear cameras, and force em to have malpratice insurance like drs. then the bad cops will get weeded out when they can get insured

5 funny man April 25, 2014 at 11:03 PM

can’t get insured ^^
or with too many bad marks, the premium would so high as too not make it financially worth being a cop

6 Momo April 25, 2014 at 11:03 PM

Why did Martin get patted down and handcuffed?

7 Momo April 25, 2014 at 11:05 PM

Darn spell check. Why did Marin get handcuffed

8 futbllwmn April 25, 2014 at 11:33 PM

ahhhhh….. lawyers. Bloodsuckers all.

9 Juror April 25, 2014 at 11:35 PM

You act up…you take the risk of getting shot No Lawsuit here.

10 SF_CityGirl April 25, 2014 at 11:53 PM

Well the taser didn’t work on the perp, he was probably methd out. Bet the perp has a violent history. Thirdly this is just a ploy for the attorney to drum up public sympathy. Pathetic.

11 The Realist April 26, 2014 at 12:54 AM

Juror, I hope that cane you walk with never gets mistaken for a rifle.
Or that you have a “misunderstanding” when officers come to “help” you.
http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=7644917
Marin settled for a cool 2 million. Good luck Contra Costa!
Just remember when you’re on the floor spasming, TO STOP RESISTING.
Time to reevaluate the policies.
Time to reign in the police force.

12 Schmee April 26, 2014 at 3:21 AM

Agreed. Having met, despised, been arrested, and been let off by cops of every city around here. I tend to trust their judgement even still when it comes to scumbags that need to be tazed.

13 Don't forget April 26, 2014 at 4:54 AM

This is only one side of the story. And it’s basically a press release from the plaintiff’s lawyer. Take it for what it’s worth.

14 Thank you Realist April 26, 2014 at 7:18 AM

For sharing all you know about this , which is exactly.

Nothing.

15 MiddleClassJoe April 26, 2014 at 7:27 AM

Agreed with #12.

Parasite lawyers and the news media no longer reporting truth and facts – I’m sure there’s much more to the story.

16 Commuter Guy April 26, 2014 at 7:34 AM

If someone is stupid enough to charge a police officer(s) they run the risk of being shot. The “victim” is an idiot. To the officers credit, they don’t have the luxury of time to sort out who has a weapon or what the circumstances are or reason is for someone getting crazy. It all tends to happen in seconds. And it’s easy to sit back and place blame and critique everyone’s actions after the fact.

17 Bob the Repairman April 26, 2014 at 7:41 AM

When will Mark and Susan submit a bill concerning the use of a broom. They submit bills for everything else.

18 So, this 29 year old Peuking Maggot still lives at home with mom and dad..... April 26, 2014 at 7:44 AM

along with his sister and her shacked-up boyfriend…..and we’re supposed to think he is some kind of model citizen. Looks like a lot of people think that the only time a Police Officer can use deadly force is when his partner is laying dead next to him.

19 Dwight Schrute April 26, 2014 at 7:44 AM

Let me get this straight…tasered twice and keeps coming, picks up the closest weapon(broom-handle) and starts charging cops who at that point have displayed restraint…then they open fire as you are charging the cops.

JUSTIFIED!

The city should be able to sue the lawyer that brings crap like this into the press before trial.

20 94598 April 26, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Police are out of control- they are the real gangsters and thugs. Decent people should stay clear and avoid- as Ive always taught my kids- yes, they are good& happy kids with 4.5 and 4.2 GPAs, God fearing and God loving kids!
Love the oxy joke- too bad its true. As long as Police Officer Association contribute and endorse politicians, this will continue- not too mention the unbalanced budgets due to unrealstic police pensions. Did I mention how many cops retire in their 20 and 30s due to “injuries.” Once they start receiving their CalPers pensions (tax free till age 50) they are just fine and get other jobs.

To all the too too many cop families out there- truth hurts doesn’t it- you’re worse than the welfare scammers.

21 Atticus Thraxx April 26, 2014 at 8:22 AM

It says they tried the TASER and for whatever reason it failed, right? Seems to me at that point cops have every right to shoot to defend themselves just like you and me. Maybe it’s time police departments consider more powerful sidearms. Or get out of the car with the shotty if there’s an armed guy running around with bad intent. Hit him twice at close range and he’s still alive to sue? Bet it was a .40 S&W.

22 waverunner April 26, 2014 at 8:40 AM

Casper is from the same firm who always files the sexual harassment suits. He loves to file suits against police. He handled the case for Lt. Heinemann against the CPD.

23 RCA April 26, 2014 at 9:14 AM

Casper has agreed to never sue CPD again. That was one of the ways he sold it to the city in an effort to get free money for that sociopath Lisa. Otherwise, he would have lost big time.

24 Dwane April 26, 2014 at 9:17 AM

I’d love to be on this jury… I’d put Lafayette out of business.

25 bumper morgan April 26, 2014 at 9:33 AM

both cops should sue the “victim” for emotional distress, etc.

26 PO'd April 26, 2014 at 9:34 AM

We don’t have all the facts, so coming to a valid conclusion is difficult, however two statements bother me from the outset:

Schock was suffering “emotional Problems”

Schock “partly as a result of his fragile emotional state…”

He came at the Police with a blunt object and a knife, therefore on the surface he crossed the line,taser didn’t work and he was shot. Most of it sounds like pre-trial positioning by a slick lawyer to portray the perp as the victim, and the police as the perp. It will get untangled in court, and there may be a big payday waiting. Lafayette will probably want to settle out of court.
The only statement that sounds factual was Schock is lucky to be alive.
I’m sure this will lead to re-evaluation by the Sheriff Dept. forced by the legal decision.
Recommendation: get rid of tasers.

27 Anonymous April 26, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Of course Casper would only tell the truth. He has nothing to gain does he?

28 mec172003 April 26, 2014 at 9:51 AM

The fact is the police are not properly trained on mental illness and appropriate de-escalation. Sad. And you here it over and over. So the ppl on here saying he’s a loser for living at home, you give the mentally ill no support it’s either there or on the streets. The whole system is broken. He’ll win the suit.

29 Wow it is realy to easy to judge this situation from your computer.... April 26, 2014 at 9:53 AM

It is sad to see just ho bad things have gotten. I try to not pass judgement on others especially before I know all the facts.

Some of you seem to be so angry witch I can understand with what is going on today with so much to be mad at and you feel overwhelmed and helpless we all seem to be getting mad at the drop of a hat and I can understand why.

But I think the best question is what are we going to do about all this anger?

Does this need to run it’s course and how long will this take? People are turning a lot quicker on others and judging people for what ever the reason.

Anyway if you think about it and you think I could be correct than my suggestion is stop reading so much on line and stop watching TV and go help someone in need.

You know what the definition of “INSANITY” is???

DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AND EXPECTING A DIFFERENT RESULT!

Please think about how you can be better to one another instead of tearing each other down…. It only hurts “YOU”

I believe strongly that you are great people who just do not know how to decompress please try…..

Anyway try to have a better day if you need help just ask their is no shame in that you will be much happier.

Good Bless each of you… You are great and I am glad to live in your city….

30 RickCendejas April 26, 2014 at 10:11 AM

I sure see a lot of anonymous people posting for the right of police to shoot people who don’t deserve to be shot. What is the truth? The police say he was rushing them with a knife and the broom. Which side is telling the truth? Shooting an unarmed, or even lightly armed civilian who is obviously in an emotional state is wrong!

31 MrDuckyWucky April 26, 2014 at 10:13 AM

I hope it goes to trial. Very weak case, unless the sleazy ambulance chasing defense attorney can pack the jury with a certain ethic group that hates police.

32 Ricardoh April 26, 2014 at 11:41 AM

The law suit is the reason most cops shoot to kill.

33 Sister Carlene April 26, 2014 at 12:27 PM

@17. Who are you to judge. Some don’t have the luxury of being a trust fund baby or set up in a business by Mom and Dad. Some have depression and anxiety from living in a world with people like you, who are the true Maggots feeding off others misfortune and gossiping about it.
Karma is knocking on your door!

34 @28 April 26, 2014 at 12:40 PM

I think I love you.
xoxox

35 Ex Wife April 26, 2014 at 12:41 PM

I judge and the verdict is in: living at home with mom and dad at 29 while committing crimes is poor.

36 Cowellian April 26, 2014 at 12:57 PM

You’re being kind of judgmental, aren’t you, Sister Carlene?

37 SF_CityGirl April 26, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Someone still lives at home with mommy & daddy…

38 Connie Dobbs April 26, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Karma is Sanskrit for ‘my poo don’t stink.’

39 Anonymous April 26, 2014 at 1:14 PM

The cops do have training in dealing with disturbed people . Part of it locally is reading the phantoms posts.

40 who's the baby's daddy April 26, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Did anyone figure it out yet?

41 @#38 April 26, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Nice…

42 Anonymous April 26, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Amazing how many people read an attorney’s press release and believe it.
Attention believers: He is trying to make money.. If he believes this stuff he should be asked to sign an affidavit under penalty of perjury. Watch him scurry back under his rock if he’s asked to do that.

43 @ Ex wife April 26, 2014 at 4:59 PM

That’s why your an Ex wife. Foul

44 Ex Wife April 26, 2014 at 5:22 PM

yes, and that’s why I have an EX HUSBAND!

45 Dr. Jellyfinger® April 26, 2014 at 7:42 PM

I can sue the police for shooting me? What if it happened in L.A. way back on April 29th 1992 & I was running down the street carrying a TV set…. just like everyone else was, so I thought it was OK…. still good for a lawsuit?

46 @post28 and others... April 26, 2014 at 7:50 PM

Just to let you know, Einstiens quote is not the
definition of insanity. That quote was given
somewhat tounge in cheek regarding his numerous
attempts at solving certain equations.

47 wildcat April 26, 2014 at 8:20 PM

The perp didn’t charge with a knife. He bad a knife but it was taken by the sister’s boyfriend and he took it to the cops. Amazing how quickly things get turned around.

48 Daniel Horowitz April 26, 2014 at 8:55 PM

Many of the posters seem to have forgotten (or have never known), Paul Starzyk, a kind, wonderful man who was shot dead responding to a family disturbance call. The same thing could have happened to Officers Harrison and Marshall. Officer Starzyk left his wife and children and I often think of their loss when I am in Martinez. But the “public” quickly forgets the pain of the families of slain officers. We expect police officers to put their lives on the line and when they are the victims we are quick to put on our sad faces but this lasts for a very limited time.

If we had better memories we would know that domestic disputes are one of the most dangerous assignments for police officers. The officers responding don’t know what weapons are in the house, they don’t know the turf as well as the people involved, and the alliances within a house are often murky and have the potential to change. In family conflict situations a person has already caused or threatened to cause harm to their own family. Do you think that in such a state of mind a person might also be willing to harm a police officer?

Officers Steve Harrison and Michael Marshall followed procedure. There were multiple aggressive acts directed toward them from a man who would not respond to instructions to disarm and stand down.

He was shot two times, which is proper procedure. The officers did not unload on him. Both shots appear to have been aimed at the torso, which is again, proper. No one else was injured. The officer exercised proper control in no longer shooting after the suspect was hit. How many times have you heard of officers unloading their magazines and spraying bullets all over? Nothing like this happened. It was a tragic but necessary response to an aggressive attack by a person who was out of control.

Put differently, if this man was so safe that he could be disarmed without weapons, why did his family call the police? Why didn’t his family simply put him in a chair and talk to him? The answer is obvious. He was out of control and whether it was mental illness, drugs or just anger, we may never know. But some situations are just sad and tragic and there is no one (ultimately) to blame. This may be one of those cases. I don’t know.

What I do know, is that I am grateful that Officers Harrison and Marshall were not harmed and that they had the presence and restraint to first use words, non-lethal force and only after all this failed (and such strong measures did not bring him to his senses), they used lethal force in a controlled and professional manner.

I am certain that the officers involved felt great sadness at having to harm this person but they did what they had to do and I am grateful that they were unharmed.

If anyone should be suing, they should.

49 James April 26, 2014 at 9:08 PM

@Wildcat it is amazing how things get turned around. Luckily the knife was taken and her boyfriend didn’t get injured at the time which could have happened. Wasn’t he killed before his time?

50 SF_CityGirl April 27, 2014 at 12:40 AM

Cops shouldn’t be wrestling anyone to the ground, that’s how a cop’s gun can get taken & be used against them. Btw Clearly the perp wanted to harm the cop’s, thus charging at them.

51 Veronica April 27, 2014 at 4:43 AM

Didn’t Einstein work in a patron office and lose his job shortly after?

52 @Daniel Horowitz April 27, 2014 at 8:34 AM

You are my hero.

Officer Barbrady

53 Don't Censor Me Bro April 27, 2014 at 12:52 PM

@ #48

And, who told you that at the time, police were assured the subject did not possibly, posses another concealed weapon?

54 Don't Censor Me Bro April 27, 2014 at 1:04 PM

@ #50

“…Killed?”

55 Man in Tan April 27, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Thank you Daniel Horowitz for bringing some rational thought to this thread much of which is speculation since we weren’t witnesses to the event. Let’s wait until the dust settles in the legal system and more facts are known. I would like to repeat the most pertinent point in your post “…..if this man was so safe that he could be disarmed without weapons, why did his family call the police? Why didn’t his family simply put him in a chair and talk to him?” Simply put, if you can’t answer that question, you shouldn’t second guess the cop’s action. Thanks again Mr. Horowitz.

56 ConcordMike April 27, 2014 at 8:53 PM

Thank you Daniel Horowitz!

57 The truth April 29, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Should of complied and put the broom down plain and simple.

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