Share story

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Northern California mother filed a civil rights lawsuit Tuesday alleging a San Francisco police rookie wrongfully shot and killed her unarmed son as he fled from a stolen van he was driving earlier this month.

Lawyers for the mother of Keita O’Neil, 42, filed the lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco.

The lawsuit alleges that poor police training led to O’Neil’s death. The officer who shot O’Neil graduated from the police academy four days earlier and was a passenger in a patrol car driven by a training officer.

Body-worn cameras captured officer Christopher Samayoa firing through the closed passenger-side window of the police car he was riding in, the bullet shattering glass before it hit O’Neil in the head.

The lawsuit alleges that Samayoa opened fire when O’Neil jumped from the slow-moving van he was driving and was fleeing on foot. The van belonged to the California Lottery and was reported carjacked earlier in the day.

“At the time of the fatal shot, Mr. O’Neil was unarmed and did not present an immediate threat to the officers or anyone else,” the lawsuit alleged.

It seeks unspecified monetary damages.

San Francisco police did not immediately return phone and email inquiries Tuesday. The San Francisco Police Officers Association Union also did not return a telephone message seeking comment.

Police have not released the name of the training officer. Samayoa was placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting while it was investigated.