The man who was shot to death last week by two Oakland police officers had dropped his gun and may not have fired it at all, according to the cops' own attorney. The revelation, reported in the Chron over the weekend, directly contradicts the official version of events from the Oakland Police Department. The department had claimed that the victim, Parnell Smith, had been in a gun battle with Officers Phong Tran and Scott Hewitt before they shot him. Earlier reports that Smith was a rape suspect also turned out not to be true.
The cops' attorney, Mary Sansen, is now saying that Smith had swung a cane and had brandished a handgun at Tran and Hewitt, but then dropped the gun before they shot him. Sansen said the officers opened fire because Smith allegedly had reached for his waistband again and they thought he had another weapon. And in a tragic twist, the Chron also reports that a cousin of Smith's, Ameir Rollins, was left a quadriplegic after he was shot in the neck by another Oakland cop in 2006.