OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Case closed? Not on my watch.

That’s the message Alameda County’s new District Attorney, Pamela Price, sent as she reopened eight cases that were previously closed by her predecessor, Nancy O’Malley.

The eight cases contain investigations into law enforcement officers who used lethal force against suspects. All of the officers involved were absolved by O’Malley’s administration.

However, police officers who were cleared of wrongdoing could face criminal charges with Price in charge.

Price, a former civil rights attorney, also announced that she created a Public Accountability Unit. “The unit is tasked with holding law enforcement and public officials accountable for misconduct,” the District Attorney’s Office wrote.

Then-Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley exits a news conference in Oakland, Calif., on June 5, 2017. (AP Photo / Jeff Chiu)

Since she was sworn into office earlier this month, Price directed the PAU to ask several local police chiefs and Alameda County’s new sheriff, Yesenia Sanchez, to return evidence previously collected on eight officer-involved shootings and one in-custody death.

The police chiefs and sheriff were notified that the evidence will be used to reopen the eight cases “for further review” and “to determine whether charges should be filed or not.”

Price said she campaigned and won votes based on promises for accountability. “This unit and its work are the start of the reckoning Alameda County has asked for holding people accountable for their misconduct,” Price said.

“We have seen many thoughts and prayers being bandied about the police murder of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee. The people of Tennessee want accountability – and so do the people of Alameda County,” Price said.

Three of the reopened cases were reviewed, cleared, and closed by O’Malley’s office in December. Price said O’Malley worked to close the cases “at the 11th hour, just weeks before I took office.”

Price said now that she’s Alameda County’s top prosecutor, “I want to give each case a thorough review to ensure justice has not been forgotten. I’ve made sure that my Office has attempted to reached out to each of the families of the deceased. The healing process cannot begin until we do our due diligence.”

Senior Assistant District Attorney Kwixuan Maloof is leading the Public Accountability Unit and the Civil Rights Bureau. Maloof said, “A reopening of these cases does not guarantee charges will be filed, but will give this office and my team time for a thoughtful review and to leave no stone left unturned.”

The following eight cases were reopened for review:

Chavez, 33, was a domestic violence suspect.

Smith, 22, was a robbery suspect.

Gloria, 34, of Oakland, led police on a highway chase before he was shot. Police said Gloria was driving a stolen vehicle associated with an armed robbery.

Gonzalez, 26, was suspected of being drunk in public, and possibly stealing bottles of alcohol. His family said officers escalated what should have been a minor encounter with an unarmed man.

  • Vinetta Martin, died at Santa Rita Jail in 2021
  • Agustin “Augie” Gonsalez, killed Hayward Police in 2019
  • Mack Jody Woodfox, death involved Oakland Police in 2008
  • Andrew Moppin-Buckskin, death involved Oakland Police in 2007

Activists want criminal charges

The Anti Police Terror Project, an Oakland based nonprofit group, said reopening the cases is a good first step.

“What we hear first and foremost from families is that they want the police who stole their loved ones held accountable,” said Cat Brooks, Executive Director of the Anti Police-Terror Project, “today a necessary step towards accountability was taken, and we are looking to next hear that these officers will be prosecuted and convicted.”