Family of Teodoro Valencia Jr. announce settlement with city of Newark, police

Scott Lettieri / KCBS Radio

Family Of Man Killed By Police During Robbery Reaches Settlement

Scott Lettieri
July 18, 2019 - 4:05 pm

OAKLAND — The family of a man who was shot and killed by a Newark police officer three years ago has reached a settlement in their wrongful death lawsuit against the city and its police department. 

The family of 23-year-old Teodoro Valencia Jr. has accepted a payment of $475,000 to end their dispute of Valencia's death.

Valencia robbed a KFC restaurant with a BB gun on March 11, 2016 and was fleeing the restaurant when Officer Conrad Rodgers shot him once in the back. Rodgers has claimed that Valencia turned to face him with what looked like a real gun, but the family had argued in the lawsuit that Valencia was fleeing with his back to the officer when he was shot.

Valencia’s father, Teodoro Valencia Sr. said changes to officer training are crucial and could have saved his son’s life, but wishes the department would admit fault.

“This is very difficult," he said "It needs to be clarified that they did something wrong.”

Under the terms of the settlement, the city and the police department are not admitting any wrongdoing but have agreed to a series of policy changes, including changes to officer training and screening officers for mental illness.

“I think it compares favorably to almost any case you would look at where the circumstances and the losses are similar,” said the family’s attorney Dan Siegel. “That plus the fact that during the course of this litigation the city made very substantial changes in its policies and practices.”

Officer Rodgers has since quit the police force.