Team Dublin - Police Shootings of Two Korean Men in Dublin, CA on Aug 11 2005


July 5 , 2006

  • Teleconference Notes
  • 1) BJ (Korea Times) is working on a story on Jee Young Kim's civil law suit - claims and damages sought. Will also do a "one -year after the shooting" story, gathering reactions from the community, church leaders and lessons learned from the incident.
    The candlelight vigil will be on August 11th to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Kwang Tae Lee and Richard Kim's deaths.
    2) Aruna has finished article on the missing widow. It includes an acknowledgment to the foundation. The team agrees that the story will be published in the Oakland Tribune, Tri-Valley Herald, Korea Times and Korea Daily. NAM will publish the article after the collaborated media has run the story.
    3) Eugenia has finished story on changes in police policy and community relations after shootings in Rohnert Park, San Jose and Dublin. The story has implications on a national level.
    4) Simon is working in a different department in Contra Costa Times and will not be covering the Dublin shooting (CC Times will be bought up by ANG Newspapers). A new hire will replace Simon and will cover the shooting. Sandy requests that Simon be kept in the email loop so he can track what we are doing.
    5) Sandy mentions that Adam is back from Afghanistan and he needs to be brought up to date with all the articles. He is a strong advocate of the community and can give us an angle that may be helpful.
    6) Kyung Sook is unable to join teleconf - same time as her editorial meeting. Hold next teleconf after 10:30 am.

June 9 , 2006

May 25, 2006

  • Teleconference Notes
  • 1) Simon says an editorial was written yesterday on the negative impact of Dublin Police withholding records that they can legally not release due to pending litigation (eg 911 tapes, CAD transcripts). This withholding casts more public suspicion on the police. Simon is also keeping tab on Michael Wellins (expert on the psychological impacts of police shootings).
    2) BJ says Pastor Kim of Korean Church Association in Walnut Creek is outspoken on Dublin shooting and is organizing candlelight vigil on August 11. We can interview him and Simon Shin can serve as interpreter.
    Pastor Kim - 925-681-1117
    Simon Shin - 510-813-1599
    3) Pueng says that the San Jose PD adopted use of stun guns in aftermath of shooting of Bich Cau Tran. But this did not decrease police shooting. Eugenia says that very little has changed in Rohnert Park police policy after shooting of Kuan Chung Kao. She'll send a summary on her findings.
    4) Tom says in his interview of youth, many are still not aware of shooting. Some are upset that police have power to pull trigger so quickly. He'll send a summary of quotes from his interviews to group.
    5) Sandy says Aruna has interviewed Mrs. Lee in Korea. Widow is reluctant to talk. Married for a short time with Mr Lee. Interested in getting a big settlement.
    6) Kyung Sook apologizes for not joining teleconf. She has to attend an editorial meeting. Says she translated & printed in Korea Daily Simon's article on guidelines for police use of force.

    Next Steps
    1) Write a combine story on San Jose/Rohnert Park/Dublin police policy & cultural/language protocols on wake of shooting. With strong emphasis by Korean media on Dublin case.
    2) Write a story on widows - their current situation and how shooting and deaths have impacted their lives and families
    3) Conduct an interview with Pastor Kim
    4) Everyone continue to keep Team abreast of any ideas, leads or stories they are working on. This can spur ideas and team projects

May 24, 2006

May 16, 2006

  • Teleconference Notes
  • 1) To what extent has there been a change in police procedures and policies in wake of police shootings in San Jose* and Rohnert Park*? Any steps taken by police depts. on a local level or the national level?
    Pueng – to follow up on San Jose case; Eugenia – to follow up on Rohnert Park case
    2) Tom -- to talk with more Asian youth to find out impact of shooting on them. He has talked with several youth in Dublin/Pleasanton and they have either a) not heard of shooting at all or b) unaware of full story of shooting, only heard parts of it.
    3) BJ says that the family lawyer will be filing a civil suit within the month. The suit will be for monetary compensation and negligence on part of police officers.
    4) Pete says he’ll send url of DA’s report
    5) Simon says via email that he has filed another Public Records request with the Alameda County Counsel. He has also checked state and federal records on the Dublin Police Service and the 2 police officers. Both officers do not have a history of violence on the job. No brutality claims or suits against Dublin Police Services. He is also contacting Michael Wellins who works with Orange County Sheriff's Department and is an expert on psychological impacts of police shootings.
    6) Sandy says we should hold regular teleconference for updates on findings, interviews, etc. The Dublin shooting is a model of what can go wrong and will happen again if community and police department do not prepare ahead for situations like this.

    *On July 22, 2003, 25-year Vietnamese woman, Cau Bich Thi Tran was shot to death in her kitchen by San Jose police officer
    *On April 29, 1997, 33-year-old Taiwanese Kuan Chung Kao was shot to death in his driveway by Rohnert Park police officer

May 7, 2006

May 5, 2006

May 4, 2006

  • Oakland Tribune and Tri-Valley Herald successfully obtain the DA’s Report (pdf). They meet with Korea Times, Korea Daily and NAM to reviw reports and ask Korean media to interview Korean community leaders for comments.

April 26, 2006

  • New America Media (NAM) launches a collaborative project on media follow-up and investigation on the shooting with Oakland Tribune, Tri-Valley Herald, Korea Times, and Korea Daily in San Francisco.

March 14, 2006

  • Alameda County District Attorney, Thomas J. Orloff, submits summary of police report on shooting to Gary L. Thuman, Chief of Police, Dublin Police Department.

February 15, 2006

February 7, 2006

  • A memorial is held in front of the Dublin City Hall to commemorate the six months since the deaths of Lee and Richard Kim.  Community members also speak at the city council meeting regarding the lack of response from Dublin authorities. Posting by SFU Korean Student Association.

February 2, 2006

  • A Korean-American delegation meets with Nate Miley, Alameda County Supervisor.

December 14, 2005

  • Dublin Mayor Janet Lockhart writes to BAKAJC similarly refusing to meet with community members regarding the shooting and safety policy.

December 8, 2005

  • Alameda County Sheriff Charles Plummer replies on behalf of the City of Dublin Police Department and Alameda County Supervisors, stating that it would be “inappropriate” for them to meet to discuss the shooting. 

November 30, 2005

  • BAKAJC sends a letter to the City of Dublin Police Department, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, Dublin Mayor’s Office, and city council members requesting a meeting to discuss the shooting and community safety issues.

November 4-10 , 2005

October 29, 2005

  • The first community townhall event is organized by BAKAJC.  A petition campaign demanding changes to police policy and training is launched.  Over 2000 signatures have been collected.

October 14, 2005

September 23, 2005

  • Members of BAKAJC hold a strategy session with consultation from three experienced community activists.  BAKAJC also receives assistance from the Data Center of Oakland to conduct research.

September 20, 2005

  • A vigil to mark the one month since the deaths of Mr. Kim and Mr. Lee brings out 150 people to the Dublin City Hall.  After the event, a large number of the attendees go into the city council meeting and several attendees make public comments about the need for justice for this incident.  The vigil and the city council meeting are covered extensively by local media. 
  • That night, in an interview with Channel 2, Lt. Glenn Moon of the City of Dublin Police Department states that cultural and language sensitivity was not an issue in the shootings.
  • NAM, Wendy Rockett: "Diverse Crowd Remembers Korean Men Shot and Killed by Police"
  • NAM: "Call for Broad-based Support and Justice for Korean Men Killed by Police"

September 8 , 2005

  • Media reps and community activists from the Korean and Chinese communities meet at NAM to discuss getting help from the Chinese media on covering the shooting and getting public records. Present are Professor Ling Chi Wang of UC Berkeley; Elizabeth Suk and David Kim from the Bay Area Korean American Justice Coalition; BJ Han and Kyong Sook Lee from Korean media; Sing Tao Daily, New Tang Dynasty TV, KTSF, and International Daily News.
  • NAM, Wendy Rockett: "Korean Americans Reach Out to Chinese Americans for Help with Police Shootings"

August 30, 2005

  • Bay Area Korean American Justice Coalition (BAKAJC) is officially formed to respond to this tragedy and also to provide an infrastructure for the Korean community to respond in future incidents. Fact Sheet - html, pdf

August 26, 2005

August 24, 2005

  • After much media attention and community pressure, Dublin Mayor Janet Lockhart and City of Dublin Police Chief Gary Thuman finally meet with Mrs. Kim and Mrs. Lee and offer condolences.

August 22, 2005

  • The police officers involved in the shooting, Tara Russell and David Taylor, return to duty after three days of administrative leave and three additional days off duty, and prior to the completion of any investigation.

August 20, 2005

  • Funeral Service takes place for the two victims in Castro Valley

August 19, 2005

  • Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Jeeyoung Kim make their first public statement at an emotional press conference attended by concerned members of the Korean-American community.  They call for a fair and impartial investigation to the shooting.  The press conference draws much attention from the press, including mainstream TV stations and newspapers. 
  • SF Chronicle, H. Lee & D. Bulwa: "Widows Speak Out in Wake of Officer-involved Shootings"

August 15 -18, 2005

August 12, 2005

  • The day after the shooting, the Dublin police releases a statement justifying the shooting as due to “fear of their safety and that of a nearby occupant.”  It mentions the death of Mr. Lee, and that another “male subject” who was injured, but fails to mention that Kim was injured due to police shooting.  On August 15, the police release a second statement further justifying the officers’ actions as respondingto “assaultive and aggressive” behavior and mentions that alcohol is involved.

August 11, 2005 - Thursday

  • Dublin police officers, Tara Russell and David Taylor enter the residence of Richard Kim on late Thursday night after responding to repot of a domestic struggle. Officers reportedly find Lee trying to gain entry to an upstairs bedroom while holding a knife. The officers claim that fearing for their safety and the other occupants, they open fire. Mr. Lee is hit by the gunfire and pronounced dead at the scene. One bullet passes through the bedroom door and hits Lee's brother-in-law, Richard Kim, hiding in the bedroom. Mr. Kim dies three days later in hospital on Sunday at 9:30 pm
  • Mrs. Jeeyoung Kim and Mrs. Lee, widows of the two victims, are taken to a hotel that evening without being informed about the status of their husbands.  The next day, they are told to return home by hotel employees.

Timeline | Team Members | Summary of Shooting |

Executive Summary

Police Shooting of Mr. Kwang Tae Lee andMr. Richard Kim on August 11, 2005 in Dublin, CA

Summary of the Shooting

On August 11, 2005, two Alameda County Sheriff officers, Tara Russell and David Taylor who are contracted to the Dublin Police Department, shot and killed Mr. Kwang Tae Lee (61) and inadvertently killed his brother-in-law, Mr. Richard Kim (49), in Mr. Kim’s own house in Dublin, CA. After hearing a family dispute, neighbors called the police who, from outside the house, saw a struggle and quickly entered Mr. Kim’s house. According to the police report, they found Mr. Lee holding a knife and attempting to enter the room where Mr. Kim was hiding. The officers, without full assessment of the situation, instructed Mr. Lee to drop the knife and when he did not, they shot him five times to death. A bullet also penetrated through the bedroom door and fatally injured Mr. Kim. He died three days later at the hospital of bullet wounds to his arms and face. Jeeyoung Kim, the wife of Mr. Kim and a witness to the event, stated that Mr. Lee had posed no danger to the police officers and that the shootings were deadly and unnecessary. Also, the Dublin Police, without any consideration for the grieving widows, forced them out of the house into a local hotel, in order to conduct their investigation. The widows were not given any access to support or grief counseling.

Comments on the Shooting From the Widows of the Two Victims

Jeeyoung Kim, widow of Richard Kim, immigrated to the United States with her husband in 1974. The Kims owned a successful business selling paint. They were hard working and helpful members of Korean community. In July, a month before the shooting, they bought a house in Innisbrook Way in Dublin, CA.

Kwang Tae Lee and Yang Lim Oh were living in Incheon, South Korea, and visited the Kims in May, 2005. Lee was Jeeyoung’s older brother.

The night before the shooting, Jeeyoung and Kwang Tae Lee had a disagreement. On the evening of the shooting, Jeeyoung returned home from work, and offered Soju (Korean liquor) to her brother, and apologized for the disagreement. Then Lee and Richard Kim went out for a walk. Upon returning home, they had a Karaoke party. Richard Kim offered Lee more drinks, and said, “Big brother, your sister, Jeeyoung went through a lot of hardship and loneliness in America. If she upsets you with something, please let it go.” Mr. Kim also invited his in-laws to stay longer in their new house.  However, Lee said that they were due to return to Korea soon. They had been in America for three months. Mr. Kim kept persuading Lee, and the latter kept refusing. The verbal exchange together with the drinking, escalated into an argument with shouting and some shoving. The two men were both drunk and incoherent. The wives tried to separate the husbands. Jeeyoung took her husband upstairs.

In interviews with the Korea Times and the Korea Daily, the Korean language newspapers in San Francisco, Jeeyoung said, “I want to die. Everything seems not real, like a dream. I feel like I am hit by a thunderbolt. I don’t mind even a bad dream but I wish it is just a dream. My brother was not threatening the police officers. He did not have a gun. He had a kitchen knife but he was not waving it back and forth at the police officers. When I heard the gunshot, I thought that they used blanks. Instead he was shot in his arm and his body until he died. He was not a threat to the police. The use of deadly force by Dublin police officers was in no way self-defense. I really want justice for my husband and brother. Even though they are dead, we need to still get justice for them. The Korean community should raise its voices and make its presence felt.”

Yang Lim Oh, widow of Kwang Tae Lee, said, “I wanted to die with my husband. It’s really unfair. If I could speak good English I would fight back with the police officers who killed my husband. I initially did not want to come to America because I had to take care of my family. But my husband wanted very much to show me America. That night, with so much Soju drinking, he became a totally different person, and caused a big mess. I had looked forward to returning to Korea with my husband. I now have to bring back a handful of cold ash with me. When I went on a tour to America, I was considered the luckiest woman in my hometown.  Now, all of sudden I become a pitiful widow whose husband was killed by the police.”

Sae Hun Kim (25), the son of the Kims, is currently serving his military duty in South Korea. He attended his father’s funeral in America. He said, “My father was a very kind, responsible and good family man. I feel really shocked. I really want to know how such a tragedy could happen to my dad.”


Timeline | Team Members | Summary of Shooting |


ANG Newspapers

Pete Wevurski, | ph: 925-416-4865, cell: 510-851-4976
Simon Read, | ph: 925-416-4849, cell: 925-708-1851
Bob Goll,
Drew Voros,
Kevin Keane,

Korea Daily

Young Ki Joo, | ph: 510-418-5540

Korean Times

Beom Jong (BJ) Han, | cell: 510-909-5719

New America Media (NAM)

Aruna Lee, | ph: 415-503-4170 x106, cell: 415-350-9195
Adam Clay Thompson, | cell: 415-217-9347
Eugenia Chien, | ph: 415-503-4170 x229
Mona Koh, | ph: 415-503-4170 x266
Pueng Vongs, | ph: 415-503-4170 x221
Sandy Close, | ph: 415-503-4170 x123
Tom Turpel (Sprawl Magazine), | ph: 415-503-4170 x236, cell: 925-640-2550