HomeTop StoriesMan shot by Pittsburg police during 2022 hotel standoff, files federal lawsuit

Man shot by Pittsburg police during 2022 hotel standoff, files federal lawsuit

An East Bay police department already under federal investigation was hit with a new lawsuit Tuesday that specifically names an officer who is no stranger to legal trouble.

Pittsburg police officers are accused of unnecessary escalation a confrontation in February 2022 with a man suffering from a mental crisis in a hotel and then shoot him.

While he was still alive to tell the story, Ashton Porter said during a news conference Tuesday that he is seeking accountability and police reform following the Feb. 24, 2022, shooting that still haunts him.

“I just wanted good agents who could help me get through it,” he said of the mental health crisis he experienced while staying at a Hampton Inn & Suites.

On the day of the shooting, hotel staff called 911 to report hearing screams for help and broken glass while Porter was alone in his room. At the same time, his family had also called 911 for a welfare check for the father of six, who had abruptly returned to the Bay Area from Georgia, where he said he experienced racism while trying to build a new home in a gated community.

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Body camera footage from the officer shows Porter walking through the door to mental health counselors, who initially showed up on the scene, saying he didn’t feel safe and needed time to process what happened.

“Rather than continue dialogue and resolve the situation without using force, police dismissed the mental health counselors from the scene and drilled holes in the wall of the hotel room to shower it with pepper spray and tear gas,” said the Oakland civil rights attorney. Adante Pointer, who represents Porter.

The noxious fumes forced Porter out of the room. When he emerged with a knife above his head, officers fired rubber bullets at Porter, who recoiled.

Immediately afterwards, Porter was then shot in the arm and abdomen by Pittsburg Police Officer Ernesto Mejia-Orozco.

The former officer who pulled the trigger has been charged in connection with the scandal that prompted a federal investigation into the Pittsburg and Antioch police departmentswith allegations ranging from illegal steroid distribution to benefits fraud and excessive force.

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Mejia Orozco also allegedly strangled 32-year-old Humberto Martinez while in police custody in 2016which led to a $7.3 million settlement with Martinez’s family.

Pointer said the city of Pittsburg has a pattern of allowing officers to terrorize the community.

“(Mejia-Orozco) walked into this situation, which was a welfare check, with blood already on his hands,” Pointer said during the news conference. “He had already literally choked someone’s life during a previous call for help. And yet someone who killed someone with his bare hands was trusted to act appropriately and appropriately while holding a gun in a situation that could have happened.” resolved with further discussion.”

According to Pointer, Mejia-Orozco told investigators that he shot Porter multiple times because the man had “sprinted” toward him. However, Mejia-Orozco’s body camera footage shows Porter falling after he was shot while standing next to the door of his hotel.

“According to their reports, Mr. Porter ran and ran 25 feet down the hallway,” Pointer said, noting that other officers at the scene were looking for Mejia-Orozco. “These are demonstrable, easily proven, outright lies.”

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Since the shooting and the month in jail that followed on charges of assaulting an officer, which were later fully dropped, Porter said his family is not the same.

“For me, I just take it day by day,” Porter said. “This has put a lot of mental strain on me over the past two years.”

Pointer said the lawsuit seeks to shine a spotlight on the critical issue of police response to mental health crises and the need for accountability and reform.

“We seek justice for Mr. Porter and strive to ensure that Defendant Ernesto Mejia-Orozco is never again in a position to take another person’s life while wearing a badge and a gun,” he said.

Officials with the city of Pittsburg and the Pittsburg Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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