Who is Jason Fletcher? (San Leandro Police Officer) Biography, Wiki
Jason Fletcher is a San Leandro Police Officer who has been charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of Steven Taylor at a Walmart in the California city on April 18, 2020. Taylor, a Black man, was reported to be a shoplifter and was holding a baseball bat before he was shot, according to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors said Fletcher used his Taser to stun Taylor and then fatally shot the 33-year-old while he was still feeling its effects.
Fletcher has been a San Leandro Police Department officer since 2006, according to public records. In 2019, Fletcher was paid a total of $267,493.90, including benefits, according to Transparent California. His salary was $116,581.66 and he earned $31,672.08 and $22,312.26 in other pay, and benefits worth $96,927.90. Fletcher has made over $200,000 four times during his career. His base pay went up in 2019 from $114,325.00 the year before.
Little else is known about Fletcher, who lives in Vacaville. The police department has not released any information about previous discipline or incidents involving Fletcher. His name was not made public by police and he was only identified after he was charged by the district attorney’s office.
San Leandro Police Chief Jeff Tudor said in a statement after charges were brought against his office, “As the Police Chief of San Leandro, I know the loss of Steven Taylor has deeply affected this community. Today, the District Attorney has charged Officer Jason Fletcher with voluntary manslaughter. It is important that we allow the judicial process to take its course. I will refer all questions to the District Attorney’s Office.”
After a four-month investigation, Alameda County Attorney Nancy O’Malley announced the charges against Fletcher, 49, at a press conference on September 2. Fletcher was accused of voluntary manslaughter. According to the district attorney’s office, Fletcher is a 14-year veteran in the San Leandro Police Department.
According to the court complaint against Fletcher, the officer is charged with “illegal and malicious intent killing” of Taylor. In his criminal complaint, Fletcher states: “With the sudden fire of quarrels and passion and the false and unreasonable belief that he and another person are in imminent danger of death and major bodily injury, and force was required to defend against deadly Danger.”
He became the first San Leandro officer to respond to the call to Walmart around 5 pm on April 18, according to the probable reason explained by the Alameda County District Attorney office inspector Robert Chenault in the case. Fletcher and other officers were dispatched to a thief holding a baseball bat, according to the report. Taylor was accused of going into the store, buying an aluminum baseball bat and tent, and leaving without paying for the items, according to court documents. Police said a store security guard stopped her while trying to leave Taylor and asked her to return the items. According to the district prosecutor’s office:
The store security guard Danny Saephanh called 911 reporting the theft and possible robbery. Two SLPD units were dispatched to Walmart to investigate the theft. Officer Jason Fletcher was already in the vicinity of Walmart when he received the dispatch. As Officer Fletcher approached the front entrance on foot, he observed backup SLPD Officer Overton arrive at the Walmart parking lot.
Meanwhile, two different store customers approached Mr. Taylor and tried to help him. A female customer offered him several dollars, to which Mr. Taylor said no thank you. Store security told Mr. Taylor they had called the police and they were on the way. Mr. Taylor said he would wait for the police to arrive. Mr. Taylor waited near the shopping cart area and an older lady stood nearby.
Fletcher arrived at the store and spoke to Saephanah for 10 seconds, during which time the security guard told Fletcher it was not an armed robbery or an incident of someone brandishing a weapon, according to the criminal complaint. According to the complaint:
Security Guard Saephanh then pointed out Mr. Taylor standing next to the shopping carts. Officer Fletcher did not wait for his cover officer and immediately contacted Mr. Taylor in the shopping cart area. Officer Fletcher grabbed the bat with his left hand and attempted to take the bat from Mr. Taylor’s right hand. Officer Fletcher pulled out his service pistol at the same time he tried to take the bat from Mr. Taylor. Mr. Taylor pulled the bat from Officer Fletcher’s grasp and stepped away from Officer Fletcher. From a distance of approximately 17 feet, Officer Fletcher drew his taser with his left hand and pointed it at Mr. Taylor.
Officer Fletcher told Mr. Taylor to ‘drop the bat man, drop the bat.’ Officer Fletcher shot Mr. Taylor with his taser as he advanced towards Mr. Taylor. Officer Fletcher tased Mr. Taylor again, and Mr. Taylor clearly experienced the shock of the taser as he was leaning forward over his feet and stumbling forward. Mr. Taylor was struggling to remain standing as he pointed the bat at the ground. Mr. Taylor posed no threat of imminent deadly force or serious bodily injury to defendant Fletcher or anyone else in the store. Defendant Fletcher shot Mr. Taylor in the chest just as backup Officer Overton arrived in the store.
The district attorney’s office said Taylor dropped the bat and turned away from Fletcher and fell to the ground. He was later pronounced dead in the store. “From the time Officer Fletcher entered the store to the time he shot and killed Mr. Taylor less than 40 seconds elapsed,” prosecutors said.
The San Leandro Police released body camera and cell phone footage of the shooting in an April 22 briefing that can be watched below (warning – graphic content):
Although prosecutors said Taylor felt the effects of Taser when he was shot, San Leandro Police said in a press release regarding the incident that the stun gun was “ineffective” and Taylor “kept walking towards the officers”. shot.
According to Taylor’s family, the victim suffered from mental health issues. Her grandmother, Addie Kitchen, told KCBS Radio on August 7 at a protest seeking justice for her grandson: “He’s not the first homeless person they meet and I know he won’t be the last, but I hope and pray he’s the last homeless person killed by the San Leandro Police Department. “The kitchen said the police had to do more to alleviate the situation.
Fletcher could face 3, 6 or 11 years in a California state prison under the law of voluntary manslaughter. According to the Shouse California Law Group, he can also be sentenced to parole.
Taylor’s family has filed a criminal complaint against Fletcher since he was shot, saying that he and other officers in the department were not trained to help someone with a mental health crisis, CBS Bay Area reported. “The way our police are restructured is to help people with mental illness; When you call an officer from a black person, it won’t end well, ”his mother, Sharon Taylor, told the news station in June. Taylor’s family has yet to comment on the charges against Fletcher.
Fletcher was unable to be reached by the Heavy for comment, and it is unclear if he has hired a lawyer to speak on his behalf. Fletcher is scheduled to appear in court on 15 September, according to the Alameda County District Attorney. It is unclear whether he will be detained before going to court.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said in a statement, “The decision to file the criminal complaint was made after an intensive investigation and thorough analysis of the evidence and the current law. The work of Police Officers is critical to the health, safety and well-being of our communities. Their job is one of the most demanding in our society, especially in these current challenging times. They are sworn to uphold and enforce the laws.
O’Malley added, “When there is use of force by a police officer that results in death, the District Attorney’s Office conducts an independent and thorough investigation of the facts. We are mandated to apply those facts to California law. The decision must be made based solely on the facts and the current law. Justice demands this process to be done in an unbiased and legally sound manner.”
The shooting was investigated by O’Malley’s office, according to a press release:
The District Attorney’s Critical Incident Review Team conducted an extensive investigation of this shooting. As is protocol, once the investigation was complete, there was a deep and thorough analysis of the facts and the current law, which was effective January 1, 2020. Pursuant to Penal Code Section 835a(a), the California Legislature declared that the authority to use physical force conferred on peace officers is a serious responsibility that shall be exercised judiciously and with respect for human rights and dignity and for the sanctity of every human life. It further set forth that in changing the law, the intent is that peace officers use deadly force only when necessary in defense of human life. The legislature declared officers shall use other available resources and techniques if reasonably safe and feasible to an objectively reasonable officer.
The district attorney’s office press release added, “Charging a police officer with voluntary manslaughter is not a decision that is made lightly, nor rashly. As with any homicide prosecution brought by the district attorney, the decision demands thoughtful deliberation and careful legal analysis.”
According to San Jose Mercury News and East Bay Times reporter David DeBolt, Fletcher is the first officer charged in a shooting in Alameda County since Johannes Mehserle. He was charged in January 2010 with second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter in the January 2009 shooting death of Oscar Grant at a Bay Are Rapid Transit Authority station, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Mehserle, a BART Police officer, was accused of shooting the 22-year-old Grant, who was unarmed, in the back while another officer held him down, the newspaper reported. The incident was caught on video.
Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, but not guilty of the more serious charges, and served a year of a two-year prison sentence, according to the Chronicle. The shooting was depicted in the 2013 movie “Fruitvale Station.”
It is the first time O’Malley, has prosecuted an officer in a shooting during her time as district attorney. She was elected in November 2010 and re-elected again in 2014 and 2018. According to KCBS, at least 40 people have been killed by police in Alameda County during O’Malley’s time as prosecutor.
O’Malley defeated civil rights attorney Pamela Price in 2018. Price said she was running to “hold police accountable and remove officers who are not serving the public, end mass incarceration, eliminate the death penalty and ensure that victims of crime receive the full justice they deserve,” according to Rockridge Patch. Price and others have accused O’Malley, who has been a prosecutor since 1984, of being too lenient on police.
In July 2020, O’Malley announced she would no longer accept campaign contributions from police unions, a criticism she had faced from Black Lives Matter protesters, according to the Mercury News.