The officer who fatally shot 24-year-old Richard ‘Pedie’ Perez following a confrontation outside a Richmond liquor store last year will not face criminal charges, the Contra Costa Times reported Tuesday.
A letter from Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Barry Grove states Officer Wallace Jensen was defending himself from an unarmed, highly intoxicated Perez outside Uncle Sam’s Liquors at 3222 Cutting Blvd. on Sept. 14.
“The evidence indicates that Officer Jensen believed that he was faced with the choice of using his weapon against Mr. Perez, or having Mr. Perez use it against him,” Grove wrote, according to the Times.
Jensen, a K-9 officer with more than six years on the force, has returned to active duty. Meanwhile, Perez’s family is suing the city for wrongful death.
Jensen said he shot Perez three times when Perez, after resisting orders to sit on the curb, tried to grab his gun as they tussled.
“Officer Jensen testified that during the fight Mr. Perez grabbed the officer’s holstered firearm and attempted to remove it,” Grove wrote, according to the Times. “Once he had disengaged from Mr. Perez, Officer Jensen said he had his weapon at ‘low ready’ when Mr. Perez lunged at him and the officer fired his weapon one time. Mr. Perez then charged at him again and the officer fired his weapon two more times.”
That account conflicts with Perez’s family’s version of the story. Civil rights attorney John Burris, who is representing Perez’s family in their lawsuit against the city, contends Perez had committed no crime prior to the struggle and was “about five to six feet from Jensen when the officer drew his gun and fired,” the Times reported. The suit says Perez’s final words were “don’t shoot.”
Two video recordings that captured the incident have yet to be released due to the ongoing litigation, the Times reported.