Police shooting in Redding draws protest; man’s relatives say force excessive

About 50 friends and relatives of a man who was shot by police last week in Redding gathered Friday in a protest outside the Shasta County courthouse.

The protesters carried signs along Court Street that said “Murdered by law enforcement” and “I’m a Native American with a bad past. Are you going to shoot me too?”

Kenneth Ray Wilson, 41, a Pit River Indian with a history of violent crimes, was killed by police Aug. 4 in a shootout on South Market Street.

“Our family’s been through a lot these last couple weeks,” said Phillip Potter, Wilson’s brother and one of the protesters.

He said Wilson’s funeral was this week and the family has been holding memorials since the shooting. Another family member died just a few days before the shooting, he said.

Earlier this week, the Shasta County Coroner’s Office reported Wilson had died from “multiple” gunshot wounds after officers from several agencies attempted to arrest him at a house on Veda Street.

Police said Wilson was wanted on several outstanding felony warrants, including armed robbery.

Wilson ran and allegedly fired at police before they returned fire. No officers were hurt.

A coroner’s spokeswoman said an autopsy couldn’t confirm how many times Wilson was shot.

The four Redding and California Highway Patrol officers involved in the shooting are on leave while the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office investigates. They haven’t been identified.

Wilson’s family has been critical of the shooting, saying it was unnecessary. One family member has said police “shot him like he was a dog.”

“If our brother did shoot, then all those shots that were fired, it sounds excessive,” Potter said Friday afternoon, referring to witness accounts that officers fired as many as 40 rounds at Wilson.

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the shooting, has not yet confirmed how many shots officers fired.

Danny Hernandez, 35, Wilson’s son-in-law, also was protesting Friday.

“This injustice irritates and frustrates me,” said Hernandez, of Redding.

Shasta County marshals stood outside the courthouse and observed the crowd. They said the protest started before 8 a.m.

Potter couldn’t say how long the protesters would stay. “Until we go home,” he said.

Wilson’s mother, Carol Cantrell, sat back from the crowd lining the street with other family members.

“The bullet hit the back of my son’s head. He was dead before he hit the ground,” she said while tears rolled down her face. “(The police) didn’t have to go no further.”
http://www.redding.com/news/2011/aug/12/police-shooting-draws-protest/

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