OAKLAND, Calif. – A 37-year-old parolee was carrying a small, silver scale — not a weapon — when Oakland officers fatally shot him during a foot chase this week, police said Friday.
Police said two officers chasing Derrick Jones on Monday night believed he had a weapon when he appeared to be reaching toward his waistband for a shiny metal object that turned out to be an electronic scale less than 1-inch thick. One officer saw the object in Jones' hand before police opened fire, authorities said.
Jones' death has prompted accusations of excessive force, with his friends and family saying the shooting was unjustified.
The shooting came just days after the sentencing of former transit police officer Johannes Mehserle, who fatally shot another unarmed man on an Oakland train platform on New Year's Day 2009.
Mehserle's two-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter sparked protests by supporters of the victim, Oscar Grant, saying the punishment was too light.
On Thursday, about 100 demonstrators for Jones and Grant marched from a barber shop Jones' owned to the same train station where Grant was killed, shutting it down to passengers for an hour.
A smaller protest with dozens of demonstrators was held Friday afternoon.
Officer Jeffrey Thomason, a police spokesman, said Friday that Jones was also carrying marijuana in a glass jar inside a pocket when he was shot.
The officers had been responding to an apparent domestic dispute between Jones and a woman near the barber shop he owned in east Oakland.
The shooting remains under investigation. The officers, whose names have not been released, have been placed on standard paid leave.
Jones was on parole for a prior gun possession conviction.
John Burris, an attorney for Jones' family, said Friday that he is surprised and suspicious that it took so long for the police to release the information.
"All I know is that Mr. Jones did not point any item at the police, did not put his hands in his waistband and he had no weapon," Burris said. "And the fact that he had marijuana, so what? None of that justifies being shot and killed."