Support SF BayView
Donate or Subscribe to SF Bay View
Follow Us Twitter Facebook

Charlie Walker: ‘They shot my grandson … in his back’

November 17, 2009

Leonard Bradley Jr., 16, Charlie Walker's grandson
Leonard Bradley Jr., 16, Charlie Walker's grandson
“A police pursuit of a stolen vehicle in the East Bay ended with a car crash and a shooting. San Pablo police opened fire on one of the suspected carjackers, killing him. It turned out he was 16 and unarmed,” KGO reported Monday. The boy was Leonard Bradley Jr., grandson of long time Bayview Hunters Point resident Charlie Walker. After Leonard and two friends allegedly stole a car in San Pablo, police chased them into Richmond, where the car hit a parked vehicle.

According to Tuesday’s Chronicle, “Bradley, who was driving, and the others ran from the car, police said. San Pablo Officers Frank Perino and Ken White confronted Bradley and shot him numerous times after he spun around and appeared to be reaching for his waistband, police said.” Charlie Walker disputes that explanation. The officers have reportedly been placed on paid leave.

On Monday, KTVU interviewed attorney John Burris, who “believes police may have shot in panic.” “’What did he do to justify being killed?’ … ‘Why did they shoot him? And why they shot him doesn’t have anything to do with what he had done before for the most part. The question is, what did he do at the time?’ asked Burris.”

by Charlie Walker

It’s a mess. They shot my grandson three times – two times in his back just below the collarbone and one time in his right arm. That must have turned him around.

Then they shot him in his face just above his right eye. That was the cause of death, according to the Coroner’s Office. So we know one thing: They shot him in the back first, because if they’d shot him in the head, he would have fallen right then.

The same policeman had killed another Black person. [According to the San Jose Mercury News, Perino killed Melvin Hardnett, 35, in Richmond in May 2006. KTVU notes that Hardnett, too, was killed after a stolen car chase and adds, “That shooting was ruled ‘justified.’”]

We stopped hanging people for stealing horses. I think we should stop shooting people for stealing cars.

He was a follower, little Leonard. They didn’t find no gun on him; they found it in the back seat of the car. That was after they had killed him.

They say he was the driver, so if the gun was in the back seat, it wasn’t his gun. And even if it was, he didn’t have it on him.

We stopped hanging people for stealing horses. I think we should stop shooting people for stealing cars.

Geoffrea Morris, Leonard Bradley’s sister, told KTVU at a vigil in Richmond Monday: “‘He was unarmed,’ she said, ‘So I’m saying, if you’re running away, you are not causing any imminent danger to the police department.’ … Through tears, Bradley's sister had a message for the police officers. ‘You imagine yourself seeing your 16-year-old brother, laying down in a field, and zipped up in a body bag, and tell me how you feel,’ she said.” – Video frame: KTVU
Geoffrea Morris, Leonard Bradley’s sister, told KTVU at a vigil in Richmond Monday: “‘He was unarmed,’ she said, ‘So I’m saying, if you’re running away, you are not causing any imminent danger to the police department.’ … Through tears, Bradley's sister had a message for the police officers. ‘You imagine yourself seeing your 16-year-old brother, laying down in a field, and zipped up in a body bag, and tell me how you feel,’ she said.” – Video frame: KTVU
How was he threatening the police if he was running from them? That’s what I want to know.

It’s always been my understanding that the only time a policeman has a right to shoot someone is when he feels his life is threatened.

This is the same identical thing that caused the riot in Hunters Point in 1966: When the police chased a car, the car crashed, the boy jumped out and ran and the police shot him in the back and killed him. [See 1966 Hunters Point Uprising and other tales of ‘San Francisco’s Last Black Neighborhood’ at sfbayview.com.]

Leonard wasn’t a bad kid, but he struggled to be wanted. He did not have a record. He’d never been to jail. He only wanted to be part of the in crowd. When he did get in trouble, it cost him his life.

Being his grandfather, I have instilled in him that when the police stop you, it’s better to cooperate with them because they are armed and dangerous when it comes to Black people. I can get you out of jail, but I can’t get you out of the cemetery.

On my television show, I constantly say that white people still look at us as they did during slavery: Shoot first and ask questions later. We have young men fighting for the country, but when they return, they can’t get a job. Forty-two percent of Black men from 15 to 45 are unemployed. The figure in Richmond is approximately 48 percent.

All over this country there’s widespread killing – Black on Black crime and police on Black crime. I guess they feel you might as well kill them because they have no service. I wonder how that policeman would feel if someone did his grandchild like that.

Charlie Walker is a truck broker and has a television show, America Is Still the Place, on Channel 29 in San Francisco.

10 thoughts on “Charlie Walker: ‘They shot my grandson … in his back’

  1. Jon Lyles

    Mr. Walker please accept my condolences. I hope there is a thorough and honest investigation that will answer why the police are shooting suspects who are running away from them.

    Reply
  2. physal

    I did leave a very fact filled post here earlier but it seems to have been removed.

    This probably won’t break any hearts, but this will most likely be my last post at this site. Whenever I bring any facts to the pieces placed here they seem to disappear. This lack of facts in any story leads me to believe that this site and the people that believe everything here are a big part of the problems with society. They are teaching the wrong ways to enjoy the opportunities afforded them in this country.

    Don’t study, blame the school system.
    Commit crimes and blame the police for not being nice in their response.
    Call the alledged murders and the murderers alledged.
    Don’t ever assume people are the least bit responsible for their actions.
    Overload the criminal justice system and then complain about the lack of justice.

    Reply
  3. China Black

    I just want to say my heart goes out to all Leonard’s parents family and friends. I met his grandfather Mr. Charlie Walker over the weekend and he is so deeply pained by his grandsons death, and i could tell because of the look in his eyes. His eyes filled with hurt, anger, as he said you know they killed my grandson. They shot him right in his back, and he didn’t have a weapon. This is a very sad case of a sweet young man getting his life took by the police. I truely hope JUSTICE is served without a shadow of doubt. May God keep all of you………………. China Black

    Reply
  4. jasmine

    Leonard was a good friend of mine I can’t believe he’s really gone I feel the police were being racist if that was a white boy he would have lived!!!

    Reply
  5. wow

    ahh yeah….he was carjacking, robbing and shooting at citizens. yep he was a great kid… and it’s the fault of police. And oh yeah…if he was white they wouldn’t of shot him…..and instead of Bradley being zipped up in a bag maybe his sister would feel better if it was the victims of the shooting/robbery/carjacking that was being zipped up..or maybe the police should of let him run into a neighborhood where he could of shot at another innocent tax payer….yeah…one big educated group of rational people here to blame everyone else for little leonard’s behavior…

    Reply
    1. danielle brooks

      um before you start making comments toward people you dont know i think you should know both of his sisters are educated

      Reply
  6. raysean jones jr

    listen when you get shot in the back there is no justification and he didn’t even shot anybody you are just another racist if this was happening to you you wouldn’t be so unemotional

    Reply

Leave a Reply

BayView Classifieds - ads, opportunities, announcements
TOP STORES
RingCentral
Rebtel
Phone.com