The family of a man who was fatally shot during a confrontation with police early this year is asking the FBI to step in and investigate.
The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that Qazi Do’s three daughters disagree with Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen’s assessment that the shooting of their father was justified.
Do, 51, had been threatening police officers with a knife in each hand when he was shot after lunging at a responding officer on January 15. The incident occurred in a ravine in the east foothills of San Jose.
According to Rosen’s report, an officer’s life was in danger when the fatal shot was fired. Do also had a history of mental illness and violence, the report found. As a result, the shooting was declared justified.
While a lawsuit has not yet been filed against the city or county, the daughters’ attorney, Julie Pulliam, believes it will happen. Pulliam told the Mercury News that the officers “escalated” the incident.
Because Do was Vietnamese, Rosen’s determination has upset San Jose’s large Vietnamese community. Two previous police shootings of Vietnamese residents that were found to be justified resulted in angry protests, according to the Mercury News.
“How many deaths will it take until they know that too many police shootings of mentally-ill American-Vietnamese equals too many?” Pulliam said in a written statement.
“Hopefully a full-fledged federal investigation will be forthcoming and with it, the possibility of a change in official policy.”
Rosen stands behind his decision.
“This is a tragic situation and my condolences go out to the Do family,” Rosen told the Mercury News. “This was a no-win situation, a choice between two bad outcomes. It’s unfortunate, but it was legally justified.”
Pulliam is also displeased with the mental health history the D.A. mapped out in his report. According to Rosen, Do threatened many people in recent years and had a criminal past. The report said even one of Do’s daughters reported being afraid of him.
“Contrary to the portrait painted by the half-truths in the D.A.’s press release, Mr. Do was mild-mannered … until his mental illness was exacerbated by stress,” Pulliam’s statement read. “Unfortunately, after all the horrors of war in Vietnam, Mr. Do had a deep fear of uniformed authority figures, which, under his particular set of circumstances as a Vietnam war survivor, was somewhat justified.”
The FBI will not comment on whether or not it is conducting an investigation into the shooting.