Derrick Gaines Family Files Suit Against South City, PD

A group gathered Tuesday at the Arco gas station to announce a wrongful death lawsuit in response to the fatal shooting of a local teen in June.

Oakland-based attorney John Burris has filed a $10 million lawsuit on behalf of the family of Derrick Gaines, the 15-year-old who was killed in June by a South City police officer.

According to a complaint, the suit is against the city of South San Francisco, South City Police Chief Mike Massoni and Officer Joshua Cabillo. Plaintiffs are Derrick’s parents Rachel Guido and Derrick Louis Lamar Gaines.

A small crowd gathered at the Arco gas station on Westborough Blvd. Tuesday late afternoon as Burris and members of the Gaines family spoke.

“We have filed this lawsuit largely beause the family has not been able to get any justifiable, reasonable answers from the police department," Burris said. "We have submitted a request with the Department to get their reports and tell us essentially what happened. It's a question of transparancy."

After Burris spoke, Gaines’s mother and father each spoke briefly. The event was one of the first times Gaines’s father has spoken to the media about the incident.

"I've been hurting ever since my son got killed by the police," he said. "That's my only son."

"I haven't had a chance to review Mr. Burris’s [complaint]," South City Mayor Richard Garbarino said over the phone. "The city has taken a look at the DA’s report clearing the officer from any wrong doing. The South San Francisco PD has completed its internal investigation that showed that the officer stuck to all the rules."

"Once [the DA's report] came out, people just dug in their heels," Gaines's great aunt, Dolores Piper, said on Tuesday. "That's what I've been feeling from the community."

Piper said she recently spoke with a long-time friend of Derrick's who said that although she cared about her friend, she did not agree with the ongoing protest on behalf of the slain teen.

"It’s tragic when the use of force is necessary," said Garbarino. "We collectively are saddened by the incident."

The complaint for the wrongful death lawsuit states that when Officer Cabillo and Gaines fell to the ground at the Arco station, a gun in Gaines's waist band fell 10 to 12 feet away, the officer then "jumped on top" of Gaines before a brief tussle, and that Cabillo then fired his pistol twice from a standing position.

The District Attorney investigation that was released in late August found that the use of lethal force the night of the teen's death was justified.

The video attached to this article shows attorney John Burris speaking on Tuesday. Also attached is a letter of explanation that accompanied the DA's August report on the incident.

Get more news. Sign up for the South City Patch daily newsletter |  Like South City Patch on Facebook | Follow South City Patch on Twitter | Blog for South City Patch

Jim C November 01, 2012 at 06:59 AM
I agree. I would like to see the videos, if any. As far as the whole truth, I doubt anybody knows that. Even Cabillo (sp?) doesn't know what was in Derrick's mind. Unless presented with proof to the contrary, I believe that Derrick made a movement that caused the officer to think his life was in danger. Mind you, I'm not suggesting that Derrick meant to do so, but from the officer's point of view, when a gun is in play almost any movement could be construed as threatening.
J November 01, 2012 at 07:30 AM
I personally know the officer he has told my friend if you run ill kill u taunting the dead of the 15 year old no joke
eri alicia November 01, 2012 at 02:40 PM
yeah right...
JP November 01, 2012 at 03:05 PM
I am so sick of hearing about this case. The DA did a case and showed the cop was in the right. what more do you need. His family is a bunch of money hungry pigs trying to benefit from his death. They were non existent in his life until he passes. Seems funny to me. And believe me i will do what i can to stop this case. This is ridiculous. The parent should be put in jail for child abandonment and trying to make money off the dead. People these days sicken me and the world is only getting worst.
eri alicia November 01, 2012 at 08:55 PM
I agree 100%
eri alicia November 01, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Oh Gawwdd...The truth came out, give it a rest Chris
Jim C November 01, 2012 at 09:32 PM
For the sake of argument, let's say the officer did say that. Is that "taunting" or is that the officer dealing with a horrible thing by saying outrageous and morbid things? A lot of people deal with stress by making wildly inappropriate comments...soldiers coming back home from war are known for it...my brother-in-law was a volunteer fire fighter in Colma...he makes jokes about the suicides he dealt with because, well, if he doesn't joke about it, it would probably eat his insides away. My point being that rather than making me think Cabillo is an ass for making that joke, it makes me sympathetic to his position. And it makes me even more angry with the Gaines family for raising Derrick so poorly and putting Cabillo in the position where he had to shoot Derrick. And I am especially angry with Gaines' friends who, under the guise of grieving have dragged the SSFPD through the mud.
Princess November 02, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Regardless of what happened, we should all try to be respectful. A family has lost a young man. Remember, no one is perfect.
Jim C November 03, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Princess, I'm not sure I follow your logic. They lost their son, so we should let them sue our city without telling them exactly what we think of it? They will doubtless never get over their loss, but we've given them time to grieve and they've used that time to hire a shyster lawyer who will try to get something out of our city whether there was negligence or not. I think it's time for some of the PTA moms who worked with Dolores to get some backbone and tell her to knock it off.
G Farrar November 05, 2012 at 12:01 AM
You have no business making a comment like this. SHAME ON YOU!
G Farrar November 05, 2012 at 12:11 AM
School was out for the summer! It wasn't even 9:30pm! What is your problem? How late were you on the streets at night during the summer at that age? Same? Thought so! If you deny it your a liar. So, back off Jim you are over the line.
Jim C November 05, 2012 at 05:01 PM
@ G Farrar: When I said "when the kid was out running the streets when most kids his age were already home studying", I did not mean the night of the shooting. I meant his earlier years at Westborough. I'm assuming that this is when many of his questionable habits were formed. And if you deny that he stayed out too late at that early age, then YOU are the liar. As for "being over the line", I haven't even come close to the line yet. As the family proceeds with this farce of a lawsuit, I expect that you'll hear more and more what the rest of us think of it.
Jim C November 05, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Not sure if this was directed at me or not, but I'll answer anyway. This is the business of EVERY SSF resident. And the vast majority of people I talk to are angry that the Gaines family is trying to ruin Officer Cabillo's life by painting him as the bad guy and is trying to extort a payday out of the city. I have expressed my condolences many times in these public forums. It is the highest form of tragedy for anyone, including this family, to have to bury a child. But they have chosen a path that is just wrong. For the family to make this into a race issue, to try to turn the children of SSF against the police and to try to cash-in on the tragedy is beyond the pale and, I believe, opens them to public ridicule and shaming. It is my dearest hope that they will see the light and stop this suit so they can get on with their lives knowing that they handled this tragedy with some amount of respectability and decorum and so they don't have to live the rest of their lives knowing they used a child's death for their own selfish motives.
eri alicia November 05, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Agreeing with Jim C 100% on this ^^^^^^ So sick of these people who let their kids run wild, give them NO parental guidance, basically are not even raising them, and when their kid pulls a gun on a police officer and the Police officer fears for his life, suddenly the kid is some "angel". Give me a break. It is not a race issue. I come from a 30 year law enforcement family. We put our lives on the line every.single.day for people like you and everyone else. I say the Police Officer sue the Gaines family for putting him in this position, no officer ever wants to be in. THe officers life is now changed forever. I cannot tell you the psychological trauma he will live with for the rest of his life. Post traumatic stress syndrome, depression, not able to perform on the job now possibly. No wonder police officers have the highest rate of divorce, aloholism and suicide. It is NOT an easy job and for the most part a thankless one. If the parents of this juvinille deliquent had done the job as being parents in the first place this would have never happened. I pray for the Police Officer involved, not the Gaines family. It is their fault and these silly lawsuits need to stop. The Gaines family think this is a quick way to get rich and that pisses me off
G Farrar November 05, 2012 at 10:22 PM
You are all very evil and sick individuals. You sit at home and say it can never happen to me, but you know what? You might be next --someone from your family could be next victim of the SSFPD's trigger happy work ethics and then what? Never say never!!!!!!! It will come back to bite you in the a?? Those who criticize the most are the worst critics and have the most to hide.
G Farrar November 05, 2012 at 10:23 PM
If you are so full of piss? Piss in your own toilet.
Jim C November 06, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Although I sincerely doubt I will ever find out that my kid is walking around with a gun, I will guarantee you this: if the exact same circumstances happened I would be embarrassed and I definitely would not try to blame it on the cop. I can tell you with absolute certainty. NEVER! This is what people are angry about, G Farrar, not that Derrick had the gun and drugs, it's that the family is trying to blame the police and make money off of the tragedy.
Jim C November 06, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Actually, I think what we're trying to do is stop the Gaines family from pissing all over our city. And thanks for the lovely imagery.
Jim C November 06, 2012 at 01:24 AM
"SSFPD's trigger happy work ethics (sic)" What are you talking about? When was the last officer-involved shooting? It was like 30 years ago. SO STOP POISONING THE CHILDREN'S MINDS!! Here is the message that any responsible adult should be sending to our children: 1) Kids, if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear from the police. 2) Whether you are doing something wrong or not, if you are stopped by the police, for God's sake, don't run!!! 3) If you are doing something a little wrong and you are stopped by the police, this is not harassment. This is you getting caught doing something wrong.
Jim C November 06, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Eri, God bless you and your family for all you do for our community. You are heroes in my family's eyes.
Princess November 06, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Jim C, I said we should all be respectful and never stated if I agree with the situation or not. That is not for me to say, as I was not there when the shooting happened. I do know how it feels to lose a loved one and would not with that feeling on anyone. Rude comments will not help the situation, it will only add fuel to the fire.
Jim C November 06, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Princess, my condolences for your loss. God bless.
Mike November 08, 2012 at 05:14 AM
How can you be sure that Gains "knew the weapon was not loaded and couldn't be fired"? Absent personal knowled via some level of involvement how would you know that? What evidence has been presented that would support your knowledge or assumption? Just how sure are you that there is video camera evidence of the specific location/incident available? How sure are you that there are existing operational video cameras that may have captured the event?
Mike November 08, 2012 at 06:01 AM
Who gave Gains the firearm? Who provided Gains with drugs? Who knew gains had a handgun but did not report it? Find the answer to those questions and you'll find the person(s) who is responsible for the death of D. Grimes. Of course lets us not ignore the absence of a responsible caring parent or guardian that actually functioned in a manner that would have been in the best interest of young Grimes. Yes, those individuals may not have killed him but they certainly failed him.
Eddie Che February 03, 2013 at 12:54 AM
...On March 5th of 2012 the landlord arrived with police and, under threat of arrest, evicted nearly a dozen tenants.  Ms. Lopez didn't receive a notice to quit before police entered her building & the company van was towed, with stuff on the street, damaging and losing much property. When they came back to Grand Avenue 415, there were signs all over the building, warning: do not get in or you will all be arrested. Ms. Lopez and Mr. Miller are hoping that this lawsuit not only will cover the damages they suffered as a result of the eviction, but will also make the city and the police think twice before using such strong-arm, illegal practices to intimidate local citizens and homeowners in the future.

Furthermore, officers took full force in removing Jackie Jo, Eddie from the building, despite Curtis the new owner saying "we'll wait outside, Jackie" and that his intention was to be the landlord! The suit alleges that collusion had been going on between with Marty Van Duyn, City Manager of the City of South San Francisco, and the Police. "The city had wanted the building for years," says Mr. Miller, one of the tenants of the building. Due to this she is homeless, with her partner Eddie Miller, and her little puppy Lilly Rose.

Jim C February 03, 2013 at 01:29 AM
Hey Eddie, you sure you meant to post that here?
Mike February 03, 2013 at 04:01 AM
Maybe they are not cameras
Mike February 03, 2013 at 04:07 AM
They lost him a long yime ago, and noboby in the "family" made any decent attempt to bring him back. I would like to know who in the heck gave this minor a handgun?
Mike February 03, 2013 at 04:10 AM
Please, try to remain serious about this.
Mike February 03, 2013 at 04:14 AM
Why is it that when all else fails some people think they can settle a debate by either get agressive, calling people names, or picking up a crack pipe.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »