Antioch Police Officer cleared for hire following investigation into 2016 shooting death of homeless man with knife in San Francisco

Officer Michael Mellone and Antioch Police Chief Brooks following the oath of office ceremony on Aug. 26, 2019. Photo: APD. Mellone while a San Francisco Police Officer. Photo: SFPD

Summary emailed to council members, three city staff on Dec. 22 leaked to at least one member of the public; results used to promote protest held on Jan. 9; released to media on Jan. 25

“I am completely confident in his abilities and know he has the right temperament, values, and character to serve as an Antioch Police Officer. If I didn’t, I would not have hired him in the first place.” – Antioch Police Chief T Brooks

By Allen Payton

Portion of a post by Shagoofa Khan on her Facebook page on Jan. 5, 2021 promoting the protest held on Saturday, Jan. 9.

The Antioch Police Department completed an outside investigation into the hiring of Officer Michael Mellone who shot and killed a homeless man in 2016, clearing him for hire. The report clears Mellone for hire by the APD and a summary was shared with council members, City Manager Ron Bernal, Assistant City Manager Rosanna Bayon Moore and City Attorney Thomas Lloyd Smith by Antioch Police Chief T Brooks on Dec. 22, 2020. However, the Herald learned about the results of the investigation, earlier this month after resident Shagoofa Khan announced them in a social media post promoting a protest held on Saturday, Jan. 9 in Antioch’s downtown and at the police facility. Brooks email to Council & staff re Mellone 12-22-20   Crump Investigations – MMellone 12-20-20

Following a Freedom of Information Act request by the Herald, the report summary was released on Monday, Jan. 25. Brooks said he needed time for a review by outside counsel to ensure information released by his department complied with confidentiality laws and rules protecting employees.

The investigation and report were in response to a request by former Mayor Sean Wright last June, to address complaints by Khan, other Antioch residents and other, out-of-town protesters who called for Mellone to be fired. Brooks said the investigation included the review of over 1,600 pages of documents, crime scene photos, a summary internal investigation into the case and a report on the shooting from an independent police expert, released by the S.F. Department of Police Accountability (SFDPA).

Second APD Background Investigation of Mellone

The background investigation was conducted by private investigator Jeffrey Crump of Crump Investigations, who was hired to handle the original background investigation of Mellone, completed in July 2019 before he was hired by the APD.

“The purpose of this review was to determine if any new information was provided that was not known to us at the time Officer Mellone was hired – and if there was, would any of the information have altered the ability for Officer Mellone to serve as a police officer,” Brooks wrote in his email to council and city staff. “In June 2020, the Antioch Police Department became aware of new documents released by SFPD pertaining to the Gongora shooting. These documents were not available during the initial background investigation and hiring of Officer Mellone. Therefore, they were sent to our independent licensed contracted background investigator to inspect.”

Crump summarized his report by writing, “After a review of all of the newly provided documents, the supplemental investigation again revealed no disqualifying information as it relates to Officer Mellone’s suitability to serve as a police officer under the specified qualifications for employment identified by the City of Antioch, POST Commission Regulation 1953, or Government Codes § 1029 and 1031.”

Large kitchen knife Luis Gongora-Pat had in his hands when he lunged at the police officers, presented at an SFPD press conference. Photo: SFPD

Luís Demetrio Góngora-Pat. Source: Photo of the large kitchen knife he had in his hands when he lunged at the officers presented at SFPD press conference on April 8, 2016. Photo: SFPD

2016 Incident in San Francisco

On April 7, 2016, Antioch Police Officer Michael Mellone, while working for the San Francisco Police Department, along with his partner and sergeant, shot and killed 45-year-old Luís Demetrio Góngora-Pat, a homeless man. After being shot by non-lethal bean bags, Gongora-Pat was waving a large kitchen knife and lunged at the officers. They then responded with lethal force, shooting him seven times. Góngora-Pat later died at the hospital from his injuries.

Security camera video screenshot of incident on April 7, 2016 shows several San Francisco Police Officers walking toward Luis Gongora-Pat’s location which was to the right out of view.

Security Camera Video of 2016 Incident

See security camera video of police incident with Luís Góngora-Pat that occurred in the 400 block of Shotwell Street, here. (Warning: The video does not show the shooting itself but, may be disturbing to watch and/or listen to.)

Mellone Placed on Paid Leave by SFPD Pending Investigation

Mellone and his sergeant were put on paid administrative leave pending the investigation of the officer involved shooting.

The following press release was issued by the San Francisco Police Department the day of the incident:

SFPD Investigating an Officer Involved Shooting on Shotwell & 19th St

APRIL 07, 2016 | 11:09 AM

By San Francisco Police Department

San Francisco Police are investigating an officer involved shooting that occurred on Shotwell and 19th Street today at approximately 10:04AM. Officers had responded to a report of man waving a knife approximately 10 to 12 inches long.  After making contact with the man, an officer fired four ‘bean bag’ type projectiles at the man from an Extended Range Impact Weapon (ERIW).  As the situation unfolded, two officers discharged their Department issued pistols striking the man at least one time.  He was transported to the hospital and later succumbed to his injuries. This incident is being investigated by the SFPD Homicide Detail, SFPD Internal Affairs Unit, SF District Attorney’s Office, SF Medical Examiner’s Office and the Office of Citizens Complaints”

Family Sues San Francisco

On Oct. 7, 2016 the family of Góngora-Pat filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of San Francisco for wrongful death.

Autopsy Shows Methamphetamine in System

The autopsy of Góngora-Pat, released on April 11, 2016 found he had intoxicating levels of methamphetamine, and smaller amounts of THC (cannabis) and caffeine, in his bloodstream.

San Francisco DA Clears Mellone

In May 2018 Mellone was cleared by the S.F. District Attorney, who determined the shooting death to be justified.  The S.F. City Attorney’s Office said it had eyewitnesses who said that Góngora lunged at the officers with a knife before he was shot.

According to Courthouse News Service an Attorney’s Office spokeswoman said in an email, “We also now know that Gongora was high on methamphetamine at the time of the incident and had a long criminal history. Gongora posed an immediate and deadly threat, and our officers’ use of lethal force was necessary and legally justified.”

Family Settles with City

In early 2019, the family of Góngora-Pat settled their lawsuit with the City of San Francisco for $140,000.

Promoted to Sergeant Earns Awards

Also, in early 2019 Mellone was promoted within the S.F. Police Department to the position of sergeant during which time he earned several awards.

Department Policies Violated

According to a June 2019 KQED news report, “The Police Department’s internal investigation, which was completed in August 2018…found that Mellone violated the policy governing ‘ranged impact weapons.’ The inquiry’s finding that…Mellone and Sgt. Nathaniel Steger be suspended for ‘neglect of duty’ is unusual in that officers are rarely disciplined for fatal on-duty shootings.”

Suspensions Recommended

SFPD Internal Affairs said they were going to recommend a 10-day suspension for Mellone. In June 2019, the SFDPA, which is staffed by civilians that have never been police officers in San Francisco, recommended a 45-day suspension for Mellone and a 30-day suspension for his sergeant.

However, they were only recommendations and Mellone could have fought to prevent them from being enforced.

Hired Again by Antioch PD

In August 2019, Mellone, a native of San Ramon, was hired by the Antioch Police Department, where he had previously worked as a detective until 2012. He had also previously worked for both the Richmond and Oakland police departments before joining the SFPD in 2012.

Hunger strikers and other protesters set up a camp site in front of the Antioch Police Facility on L Street. Herald file photo.

Protesters Demand Mellone’s Firing

During several protests last year, including a hunger strike by six people, Antioch residents and other, out-of-town protesters demanded Mellone be fired for the 2016 shooting death of Góngora-Pat, claiming the Antioch Police Officer “murdered” the man. (See related article)

Brooks Email to Council & City Staff

In his email about the report summary, Chief Brooks wrote, “I hired Officer Mellone back in August 2019. At that time he went through the same rigorous testing process as every other APD applicant. This included an oral interview, medical evaluation, polygraph test, psychological evaluation, and a thorough background investigation. As a side note, the Antioch Police Department is audited annually by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) to ensure our background investigations are conducted in accordance with POST standards. Officer Mellone passed all aspects of the hiring process. During the background investigation all available information concerning Officer Mellone’s employment with SFPD, including the shooting of Gongora, was examined and vetted and no disqualifying information was identified.”

“Upon completion of this investigation it has been determined that no new evidence was identified, and Officer Mellone is still qualified to work as a police officer anywhere in the State of California,” Brooks continued. “I had originally assigned Officer Mellone out of the patrol unit until results of this investigation were known. Now that the investigation has been completed, he will return to his regular patrol duties beginning in January with my full support.”

“Officer Mellone is a very caring and competent police officer who has spent his entire adult life working in law enforcement. And while some people have questioned his intentions or abilities based on limited information they know about one incident that occurred over 4 ½ years ago, I am completely confident in his abilities and know he has the right temperament, values, and character to serve as an Antioch Police Officer. If I didn’t, I would not have hired him in the first place,” Brooks concluded.

Two Council Members Deny Releasing Summary to Public

All five council members were asked more than once if any of them had released the summary report to any member of the public. Only Council Members Lori Ogorchock and Mike Barbanica said they had not. Mayor Lamar Thorpe, Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson and Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker refused to respond.

Full Report Not Public, Some Antioch Residents Still Not Satisfied, Hold Another Protest

Video screenshot of protest on Jan. 9. From Justice for APD Facebook page. Protest signs placed in Waldie Plaza in Antioch’s downtown on Jan. 9, 2021. Photo from protest organizer Shagoofa Khan’s Facebook page.

Post by Shagoofa Khan on her Facebook page on Jan. 5, 2021 promoting the protest held on Saturday, Jan. 9.

The full report is not public as it’s a personnel matter, according to Chief Brooks. Not satisfied with the results of the outside investigation, the protest on Saturday, Jan. 9 continued to include calls for Mellone to be fired, claiming he murdered Gongora-Pat. Protest signs were posted in Waldie Plaza, including one that read “Mellone Murders”. (See video of protest, here)

“This was an investigation on the hiring process,” said protest organizer Shagoofa Khan in the video. “The thing that we want to open an investigation on is his use of excessive force with the man that he had killed in his S.F., Luis Gongora-Pat. And we already knew that this investigation was going to be cleared. We want more accountability. We want more oversight. Which is why we are asking for more police oversight, which is why we’re asking for cameras on police.”

A video of the protesters (warning: graphic language) at the Antioch Police Facility was posted by Christina Cox, an administrator of the Justice for APD Facebook group. It includes comments by one speaker calling the Antioch Police “motherf—ing terrorists” and saying, “Chief Brooks f— you bi—”.

Sacramento resident William Wallace removes protest signs then burns them on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. Photo posted on Facebook courtesy of William Wallace. Protest signs burning in a trash can. Photo from Antioch Backs the Blue Facebook page.

The protest signs were later picked up by a Sacramento resident who then burned them and posted photos of his actions on Facebook.

Back the Blue promo and event on Jan. 9, 2021. From Justice for APD Facebook page.

Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

A gathering to show support for the police was also held on Saturday, Jan. 9, which was Law Enforcement Appreciation Day at the Antioch Police Facility, by members of another pro-police Facebook group, known as Antioch Backs the Blue. Chief Brooks came out to greet and speak with them. One video of the encounter was posted by group member Ed Sigismondo and another video was posted by member Paul Vienna.

“This job, it is a noble profession,” Brooks said. “I’ll be the first one to talk about officers throughout the country, throughout the world, quite honestly. But, I’ll just speak specifically, here in our own United States, there are some officers who don’t deserve to wear the badge and who don’t deserve to wear the uniform and you know what? I have no problem holding them accountable. My staff, they know what my values are, they know what my standards are and they’re going to uphold it.”

“I saw you guys out here and I just wanted to thank each and everyone of you. I mean truly, this is special here on Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, which I found was very fitting. So, I truly, truly do appreciate it,” he added.


Other News Reports of Incident

Following are all the news reports that could be found in an online search about the shooting death of Gongora-Pat from a variety of sources:

Witnesses challenge San Francisco police account of homeless man’s killing

Police department maintains man was ‘waving a large knife’, but witnesses say he was not threatening the officers before he was shot dead

The Guardian by Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco

Published on Thu 7 Apr 2016 18.28 EDT


SF police shooting unfolded in 30 seconds, video shows

San Francisco Chronicle by Kale Williams and Vivian Ho 

April 8, 2016 Updated: April 8, 2016 8 p.m.


Police brutality and homelessness collide in aftermath of San Francisco killing

The story of Luis Gongora, shot dead by police this week, reflects city’s twin crises and raises alarming questions about the official and witness accounts of the shooting

The Guardian by Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco

Published on Sat 9 Apr 2016 13.36 EDT


Sixth witness disputes police account of homeless man’s killing in San Francisco

Woman says Luis Gongora appeared ‘relaxed’ and was ‘not posing a threat to anyone’ before officers shot and killed him

The Guardian by Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco

Published on Tue 12 Apr 2016 09.00 EDT


San Francisco police release details of homeless man’s killing as outrage grows

San Francisco police chief addresses public over fatal shooting of Luis Gongora but fails to placate anger as thousands call for prosecution of officers

The Guardian Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco  Published on Wed 13 Apr 2016 18.50 EDT


SF Police Killing Calls Reforms Into Question

Courthouse News Service by NICHOLAS IOVINO April 14, 2016


Police Identify SFPD Officers Who Shot Homeless Man

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF)  April 17, 2016 at 2:17 pm

DA: No Charges Against Officers In Woods And Gongora Cases – CBS San Francisco (

May 24, 2018 at 1:06 pm (Includes additional video of incident)


Homeless man’s killing by police ‘like a gangster movie’, family claims

Attorneys for Luis Góngora’s family presented evidence they say shows San Francisco officers shot him from above, while he was sitting down or lying prone

The Guardian by Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco

Published on Fri 17 Jun 2016 18.53 EDT


The life and death of Luis Gongora: the police killing nobody noticed

No one tracks police brutality against the homeless. So while some shootings make international headlines, the deaths of those living on the streets – though disproportionately high – often barely cause a ripple

The Guardian by Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco and Teabo  Fri 12 Aug 2016 09.56 EDT


Maya Family Sues SF Police for Father’s Death

Courthouse News Service by NICHOLAS IOVINO  October 13, 2016


San Francisco Officers Off the Hook in High-Profile Shootings

Courthouse News Service by NICK CAHILL May 24, 2018


San Francisco DA: No Charges Will Be Filed Against SFPD Officers in Mario Woods and Luis Gongora Fatal Shootings

By NBC Bay Area Staff and Wires • Published May 24, 2018 • Updated on May 24, 2018 at 5:37 pm


SF settles lawsuit over police shooting of Luis Gongora Pat

San Francisco Examiner by MICHAEL BARBA Jan. 11, 2019 12:00 a.m.


San Francisco OKs $140K Settlement in Police Shooting

Courthouse News Service by NICHOLAS IOVINO April 30, 2019


SF Officer Jumps to Another Department Before Being Disciplined for a Shooting

NBC Bay Area by Jaxon Van Derbeken • Published June 4, 2020 • Updated on June 5, 2020 at 12:48 am


Police watchdog finds officers who fatally shot homeless man should face suspension

Agency says SFPD ‘aggravated’ Luis Gongora-Pat with bean bag gun, prompting shooting

San Francisco Examiner by MICHAEL BARBA Jun. 25, 2019 6:15 p.m.


S.F. Police oversight agency calls for suspension of officers who shot homeless man in 2016

Investigation found that officers did not follow department policy to de-escalate the situation, and actually made it worse

KQED by Alex Emslie  Jun 26, 2019

This story was produced as part of the California Reporting Project, a collaboration of 40 newsrooms across the state to obtain and report on police misconduct and serious use-of-force records unsealed in 2019.


Watchdog findings prompt calls to fire officers over Luis Gongora Pat shooting

The highly controversial case spurred protests and $140K settlement with family

San Francisco Examiner by MICHAEL BARBA  Jun. 27, 2019 5:00 p.m.


SFPD internal report finds officer who shot Luis Gongora Pat acted ‘out of policy’ in escalating encounter

Shooting homeless immigrant Luis Gongora Pat was deemed within policy, even if escalating encounter into lethal confrontation was not

Mission Local by Julian Mark | Oct 2, 2019

SF officer involved in shooting death of homeless man quit while facing discipline, landed new job in Antioch

San Francisco Examiner by MICHAEL BARBA Jun. 4, 2020 5:02 p.m.


Antioch police hired former San Francisco cop faulted in fatal 2016 shooting, riled residents hold protest

Revelations of the hiring come as Bay Area and the continue to reel from the killing last week of George Floyd

Mercury News by THOMAS PEELE and RICK HURD | Bay Area News Group

PUBLISHED: June 11, 2020 at 12:21 p.m. | UPDATED: June 12, 2020 at 1:56 p.m.



the attachments to this post:

William Wallace protest signs burning 1-9-21 Antioch Backs the Blue FB page

Justice for APD Back the Blue with Chief Brooks 1-9-21

Video screenshot of protest at APD & protest signs Waldie Plaza by SKhan 1-9-21

Mellone 1-9-21 protest promo posted on SKhan FP pg 1-5-21

Shagoofa Khan Jan 9 protest promo FB 1-5-21

Brooks email to Council & staff re Mellone 12-22-20
Brooks email to Council & staff re Mellone 12-22-20

Crump Investigations - MMellone 12-20-20
Crump Investigations – MMellone 12-20-20

Mellone & Chief Brooks 8-26-19 APD and Mellone while SFPD Officer

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