The attorney representing an alleged Decoto gang member who shot an undercover Fremont cop in Oakland last August suggested that police officers didn’t follow proper procedure when attempting to apprehend Andrew Barrientos.
According to media reports, defense attorney Barbara Thomas asked jurors in her closing arguments in Barrientos’ attempted murder case Tuesday to consider the actions of wounded officer Todd Young and his partner Eric Tang before condemning her client.
Thomas said were "the most vitriolic, hatred-laced closing arguments" she said she had ever heard, reported the Oakland Tribune.
Thomas when he fired 10 shots from a 9mm handgun in Young’s direction, striking him twice in the pelvis and nearly killing him. Young was hospitalized for more than seven weeks. She said that Barrientos didn’t know Young, who was working undercover and dressed in plain clothes, was a police officer.
Young and Tang were trying to arrest Barrientos at 2009 Auseon Ave., near Bancroft Avenue, at about 2:30 p.m. after receiving a tip that he would be at the address. They were working in Oakland as part of the Southern Alameda County Major Crimes Task Force and had a warrant for Barrientos' arrest for an incident in April as well as for allegedly threatening his ex-girlfriend with a gun in San Leandro on Aug. 13.
The Oakland Tribune reported that on Tuesday, Thomas told jurors that the officers weren’t following police procedure and suggested that they should have waited for backup assistance.
"It's with a heavy heart that I have to come here and do this case. We need the police. We respect the police," Thomas told jurors. "But we need police who are highly trained and who need to know how to do their job and do it well, because if we don't, serious consequences occur.
"You don't need cowboys. You don't need people who disregard their training, paid for by taxpayers," Thomas continued. "They have a license to kill, they really do. So they have to follow the rules."
She said that if Young and Tang had been more “tactical” in their approach, they could have avoided the shootout.
Both Young and Tang had previously testified that they did call for backup but could not wait for assistance because they saw Barrientos go toward his vehicle and wanted to avoid a high-speed chase.
In his closing arguments Monday, Brouhard said the case against Barrientos is “indefensible” because the evidence shows Barrientos knew what he was doing. Brouhard said that though officers were in plain clothes, they wore badges around their neck and shouted “Police!”
Thomas said Tuesday that Barrientos did not hear Young, even though Young’s shout is audible in an audio recording that captured the sounds of the shooting, the Oakland Tribune reported.
Brouhard also said that Barrientos called his mother nine minutes after Young was shot to tell her he had messed up and told her "I shot a police officer." Barrientos also told his ex-girlfriend a few months before the shooting that if police tried to arrest him that he was "ready for whatever" and would go "for all head shots" because he was armed with two pistols and had a vest, Brouhard said.
According to the Tribune, Thomas did not discuss the phone call or such statements Tuesday.
The Tribune also reported that Thomas admitted that Barrientos was guilty for many of the charges filed against him, but that he should not be found guilty for trying to kill Young.
"Mr. Barrientos is going to pay a lot. He is probably never going to go home," Thomas said.
"But he is not going to pay a price for their honor. Don't make him pay for their mistakes."
Bay City News Service contributed to this report.