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Former San Leandro officer charged in police shooting returns to court

A high-profile case involving a former San Leandro police officer charged with voluntary manslaughter in a police shooting heads back to court Tuesday morning.

Former officer Jason Fletcher is facing the charge after allegedly shooting and killing 33-year-old Steven Taylor inside a busy Walmart store. Bodycam footage of the 40-second encounter shows Taylor with a baseball bat in his hands when Fletcher fired.

As the case moves to trial, Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price has filed an unusual motion to remove Fletcher’s defense attorney, Michael Rains, and his firm from the case. Price says Rains illegally received inside information from a disgruntled prosecutor who was also a former client.

According to a declaration filed by Rains, the former prosecutor, Butch Ford, paints a picture of a DA team out to get Fletcher. Ford says another prosecutor told him “if it were up to me, I would charge him with murder.”

Price spoke about the case last month in an exclusive interview with NBC Bay Area.

“Mike Rains should no longer be on this … defense because he illegally … improperly violated his oath as an attorney and took advantage of another client to gain confidential information that belongs to this office,” Price said.

Rains calls the motion to remove him from the case an act of desperation. He also says the information the DA is referring to was taken from a formal complaint filed by Ford and not obtained illegally.

“It’s desperate,” he said. “They want me off the case because they know they’re going to lose the case while I remain on it. And they will.”

Source: NBC Bay Area

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