A San Francisco Bay Area city will pay the mother of a 21-year-old man shot and killed by police in 2017 nearly $3 million to settle a wrongful death and federal civil rights lawsuit.
The family of Angel Ramos filed the lawsuit against the city of Vallejo as well as Vallejo Police Officer Zach Jacobsen, who killed Ramos, the East Bay Times reported.
"There will never be a dollar amount high enough to measure the value of Angel’s life and what our family lost," Angel’s sister Antoinette Saddler said in a statement. "We have experienced pain, terror and anxiety that no words can ever explain, and no family should ever have to experience."
On Jan. 23, 2017, Jacobsen and his partner responded to a 911 call about a disturbance at a home. According to a report by the officers, Jacobsen said he saw two men fighting on a second-story balcony and began shouting at them to stop but they didn't. Jacobsen said Ramos was holding a knife and he opened fire to save the other man's life.
An autopsy revealed that Jacobsen shot Ramos from the first floor and that Ramos was shot at the base of his neck, and three times in the chest. At the time of his death, Ramos had a blood alcohol level of .26 — just over three times the legal limit.
Although Jacobsen claims Ramos had a knife, Ramos' family and the other person in the fight have said that Ramos wasn’t armed. A knife at the scene was never found.
Ramos' family and their attorney, Melissa Nold, are still upset about the original press release sent by the Vallejo Police Department on the night of Angel Ramos’ death stating that he was armed with a knife.
Nold said it "was patently untrue and calculated to conceal the truth. To date, the City of Vallejo has never issued a retraction of their fabrication that Angel was ‘holding a knife' when he was shot."
In April 2018, a board of review convened by the Vallejo Police Department cleared Jacobsen, saying the officer used reasonable force when he shot Ramos. The board also said, however, that Jacobsen should have activated his body-worn camera, the newspaper reported.
In December, a judge said that he found sufficient evidence to hold a trial, and denied several claims filed by the City of Vallejo, including a motion for summary judgment.