The Oakland Unified School District has agreed to pay $995,000 to settle two lawsuits filed in connection with a fatal police shooting outside a school dance that was later questioned by one of the two officers present at the scene, officials said Friday.
Raheim Brown, 20, of Alameda was shot and killed Jan. 22, 2011, by Oakland schools police Sgt. Barhin Bhatt after he allegedly tried to stab another schools police sergeant, Jonathan Bellusa, with a screwdriver, authorities said.
The incident happened as Brown was sitting in the passenger seat of a Honda Accord parked on Joaquin Miller Road, not far from where Skyline High School was holding its winter ball at a nearby park.
Bhatt told investigators that he opened fire on Brown because Brown had tried to attack Bellusa. Bellusa, though, told authorities that Bhatt fired two shots at Brown’s chest before his gun jammed and that by then, Brown was already incapacitated and no longer a threat.
Bellusa said Bhatt then fired five more shots, killing Brown. Bhatt told investigators he fired the second volley because Brown continued to move and was reaching for the gearshift.
Brown’s parents, Lori Davis and Raheim Brown Sr., filed a lawsuit against the district, as did LaDonna Smith, the mother of Brown’s then-unborn child. The parents and Smith will each receive $497,500.
Of the total $995,000 payout, the district will pay a $250,000 deductible, while the rest is covered by insurance, said district spokesman Troy Flint.
David Kelvin, Smith’s attorney, said, “This young man was killed for nothing. I don’t believe you can put a price on that loss.”