The Anti Police-Terror Project, in partnership with families who have lost loved ones to police violence, has launched a campaign calling for the Alameda County Sheriff’s department to release coroner’s reports in police-involved deaths within 30 days.
This demand comes after it took several months and legal involvement of the families of Yuvette Henderson and Richard Perkins to receive the reports of their loved ones’ deaths.
In the case of Henderson, a Black grandmother who was killed by Emeryville police after allegedly shoplifting and suffering from an assault inside Home Depot, it took eight months for the coroner’s report to be given to her family.
Richard Perkins was killed by Oakland police in November of last year while watching a side show and holding a replica toy pellet gun. His family waited four months to receive the coroner’s report.
“We think that 30 days is a reasonable time to get a coroner’s report and to run an investigation to determine what happened,” said Cat Brooks of the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP).
“When we got (Perkins’) report, we looked at it and saw that it only took two days after his death for it to be filed,” said Brooks. “There is absolutely no reason why they couldn’t get that family his report sooner.”
According to members of APTP, the delay in releasing reports in police-involved cases points to collusion between the Sheriff’s department and local police departments.
“You only have so long to file a civil lawsuit,” Brooks said. “If you miss that time frame, you can’t do anything, and it makes it harder for families to get a lawsuit together and dispute (police) claims.”
In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Lt. Riddick Bowers of the Sheriff’s department defended the length of time it takes to get out a coroner’s report, saying “The public is done a disservice by rushing an investigation, by adhering to some kind of arbitrary deadline.”
Yet according to Brooks, the justification for the time length doesn’t hold up since in both Henderson and Perkins’ cases the coroner’s report was released the day before APTP had planned demonstrations at the coroner’s office for the reports to be released.
Further demands by APTP include investigating possible collusion between the Alameda County Sheriff’s department and the Oakland Police Department, the release of the entire video series relating to Perkins’ death and to bring in an outside investigator to investigate his death.