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A man shot by police after disarming a gunman during a brawl files a civil rights suit

K'Aun Green is suing the city of San Jose after he was shot by a police officer after disarming a restaurant patron who was brandishing a gun, a lawsuit says.
AFP via Getty Images
K'Aun Green is suing the city of San Jose after he was shot by a police officer after disarming a restaurant patron who was brandishing a gun, a lawsuit says.

A 20-year-old man is suing the city of San Jose, which manages the police department, after an incident where he was shot by an officer four times while trying to disarm a gunman, according to the lawsuit.

On March 27, K'aun Green was sitting at a Mexican restaurant when a man he didn't know approached him. The man, who appeared highly intoxicated, challenged Green to a fight and punched him in the face. A second man, who was apparently friends with the first aggressor, pulled out a gun and pointed it at Green and other patrons at the restaurant.

Green's attorneys say Green disarmed the gunman, but other patrons in the restaurant rushed toward Green and were demanding he give the gun back, the lawsuit says.

Then "within mere seconds of arriving on the scene without giving any sort of reasonable warning" a San Jose Police Officer shot Green four times.

"Mr. K'aun Green is a hero! He saved his life and the life of everyone else in that restaurant," Green's lawyer, Adanté Pointer said. "Sadly, the police poorly responded and overreacted to simply seeing a black man holding a gun which resulted in K'aun paying the price for the police officer's rash decision with his blood."

The San Jose Police Department did not respond to NPR's request for comment. Chief of Police Anthony Mata says body camera footage will be revealed in the coming weeks.

"The two groups became involved in a verbal argument with each other that escalated into a physical fight," Mata said in a press briefing two days after the fight.

He said officers believed it was an active shooter situation and approached the restaurant while the fight was ongoing. Mata says officers gave repeated warnings to drop the weapon.

Green, a football player at nearby Contra Costa College, was rushed to a nearby hospital and underwent emergency surgery; he suffered injuries to his abdomen, leg and arm, the lawsuit says, and is uncertain if he'll be able to continue pursuing his athletic career.

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Deepa Shivaram
Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.
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