The family of an Oakland man who was gunned down in January as he was preparing to testify against a murder suspect who moved closer to suing the City of Oakland today, alleging that police ignored his pleas for protection.
Chance Grundy, 21, was killed on Jan. 27, weeks before the preliminary hearing of 24-year-old Michael Scott was set to begin. Scott was accused of killing Eugene Abraham, 26, in the 600 block of 31st Avenue in October.
In June, a jury found Scott guilty of murdering Abraham. The jurors also found Scott guilty of four counts of dissuading witnesses, for allegedly masterminding the killing of Grundy and another witness while in custody at the Santa Rita Jail.
Civil rights attorney Pamela Y. Price today filed a claim for $3.5 million against the City of Oakland on behalf of Oran Grundy, the father of the slain 21-year-old, and the victim's toddler, Jordan Grundy.
The claim, which is a precursor to a formal lawsuit, alleges that investigators probing the Abraham murder coaxed Grundy to testify against Scott, and then unbeknownst to Grundy, played the tape to Scott.
The claim states that in November of last year, Grundy began to receive threats.
He reportedly requested police protection, but police allegedly told him that Scott did not pose a serious threat to his safety and that they had already notified Scott's associates on the outside that they would be looking at them if anything happened to Grundy.
“Mr. Grundy and his family detrimentally relied upon the officers' assurances that (he) was not in danger,'' the claim states. “The officers' refusal to place Mr. Grundy in protective custody, or offer him any type of witness protection, and their assurances that they had already taken adequate steps to protect Mr. Grundy induced a false sense of protection.''
Based on information obtained at Scott's trial, Price and the Grundy relatives believe that Scott created a hit list from within the jail that included Grundy's name and mailed the list to his associates.
They also believe that Scott placed telephone calls soliciting the murders of several witnesses, including Grundy, who were set to testify against him. The allegations are that Grundy was never told about the hit list or the telephone calls, which helped a jury convict Scott of dissuading witnesses in the case.
In addition to suing the City of Oakland, Price says she intends to sue Alameda County, which operates the jail, and Gary Sherrer, who she alleges gave ill-redacted documents to Scott that included Grundy's name and address.
Sherrer, who once worked in the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office, said he had not heard of the intended suit, and added that he couldn't comment on something that he has not yet seen.
Karen Boyd, spokeswoman for the Oakland City Attorney's Office, said the city had not yet reviewed the claim and so couldn't comment on the allegations either.