Five police officers who participated in the controversial fatal shooting of an armed and disabled man in 2004 are among those being honored by the San Francisco Police Department Thursday night at a medal of valor ceremony.
Police Chief George Gascon and members of the Police Commission will preside over the ceremony at the University of California at San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus.
The department’s highest award for bravery, the Gold Medal of Valor, will be presented to Sgt. Timothy Paine, Sgt. James O’Malley, Sgt. Gregory Kane, Officer William Elieff and Officer Steven Stearns, who were involved in the May 5, 2004, police chase and fatal shooting of 29-year-old Cammerin Boyd in the Western Addition.
Boyd, of Oakland, was shot by police after a high-speed chase following his alleged attempts to kidnap two women. Police claimed that after firing at them during the chase, Boyd reached for his gun after police stopped his SUV.
Boyd was disabled, having lost his lower legs in a crash during another police chase years earlier.
Boyd’s family said that Boyd had been trying to surrender when he was shot, and later filed a wrongful death lawsuit. A federal court jury exonerated the city and the officers in a 2007 trial, and two years later, an appeals court upheld the decision, finding the city had been justified in its use of the theory that Boyd had committed “suicide by cop.”
Also honored with gold medals of valor will be Lt. Henry Parra and Sgt. Russell Gordon for the Feb. 17, 2010, arrest of a man following a fatal shooting outside a Sunset District Vietnamese restaurant.
That afternoon, the suspect, Bao Luu, allegedly gunned down 35-year-old Cuong Lu following a dispute inside the restaurant that spilled outside, according to police. The restaurant is located in a busy commercial district on Irving Street.
Parra and Gordon had been on patrol in the area, witnessed the shooting, and immediately arrested Luu, according to police.
The Police Department will also honor four officers, Roderick Suguitan, Michael Peregoy, James Trail and Uwem Obot, with the Bronze Medal of Valor for the arrest of a suspect armed with an assault weapon in Visitacion Valley.
The ceremony begins at 5 p.m. at the Mission Bay Conference Center at 1675 Owens St.
Ari Burack, Bay City News