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Family of Erik Salgado, killed by CHP in 2020, decries decision not to prosecute officers

Erik Salgado’s family and supporters on Tuesday challenged a report and decision from Alameda County prosecutors not to charge three California Highway Patrol officers for Salgado’s death nearly two years ago in Oakland.

Salgado, 22, was shot at about 10:45 p.m. on June 6, 2020, on Cherry Street between 96th and 98th Avenues, according to the report. He was unarmed, prosecutors said.

Attorney John Burris, who is moving ahead with a civil rights lawsuit over Salgado’s death, said there was no legal basis for the CHP officers to shoot into Salgado’s car. At a news conference Tuesday morning outside the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland, Burris said:

I think that report is a sham.”

Salgado’s sister Amanda Majail-Blanco described her brother as a loving individual who was outgoing, funny and a great dad.

Majail-Blanco said:

He lived a hard life. … Erik did the best he could with what he had.”

Salgado was driving a red, two-door 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, according to police. Majail-Blanco said her brother was looking for parking in the area. His mother lived nearby, she said.

Prosecutors said in the report that CHP officers saw the Dodge speeding recklessly near 90th and Bancroft avenues in Oakland.

At the time, CHP officers were looking for a suspect from a freeway shooting a few days earlier, the report says.

But officers decided to stop the Dodge because the license plate on it had been reported stolen and several Dodge vehicles had been stolen recently from a San Leandro dealership, according to the report by prosecutors.

CHP officers in a marked CHP vehicle and an unmarked vehicle approached facing the front of the Dodge, the report says. An unmarked CHP vehicle approached the Dodge from the rear, according to the report.

Prosecutors allege Salgado backed up into the CHP truck behind him and then drove forward and rammed the marked CHP vehicle.

That’s when CHP officers at the scene believed the Dodge hit one officer, pinning the officer underneath and they opened fire, according to the report. Salgado suffered 16 rifle wounds to his torso and upper extremities, the report says.

He died at the scene, prosecutors said.

Sobbing, Salgado’s mother Felina Ramirez said through an interpreter Tuesday morning:

All I want is justice. I want justice for my son.”

She visits her son’s resting place every seven days.

Prosecutors identified the officers as California Highway Patrol Sgt. Richard Henderson, and Officers Donald Saputa and Eric Hulbert.

Also wounded by CHP officers was Salgado’s girlfriend Brianna Colombo, who was pregnant with Salgado’s second child, family members of Salgado said.

Majail-Blanco said she believes the CHP has three videos from homes near the shooting scene and the agency is not releasing the footage.

She wants the three officers charged with murder for killing her brother.

He wasn’t a threat to society when the CHP stopped him, Majail-Blanco said. She said Salgado was driving slowly.

“It just doesn’t make sense” for her brother to be met with gunfire over auto theft, Majail-Blanco said.

None of the officers were wearing body cameras, prosecutors said in the report. For evidence, prosecutors said they had to rely mainly on statements by the officers involved.

Prosecutors said:

While questions remain as to the use of force in this case, there is a lack of evidence and independent witnesses to proceed with criminal charges.”

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley would not comment for this story. The California Highway Patrol also declined to comment for this story, citing ongoing litigation.

Joining the family and supporters were “Uncle Bobby,” Oscar Grant’s uncle, Steven Taylor’s grandmother as well as Burris.

San Leandro Police Officer Jason Fletcher has pleaded not guilty of voluntary manslaughter for shooting Steven Taylor at a Walmart store at 15555 Hesperian Blvd. on April 18, 2020.

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