State Attorney General to Review Shooting Reports
The California attorney general's office has agreed to have a second look at a number of officer-involved shootings in San Diego County. Joanne Faryon has the story.
There are seven shootings to be reviewed and questions about them have been mounting for months. San Diego Charger Steve Foley was shot by an off-duty police officer in Poway last year. The other six shootings were by sheriff's deputies in Vista -- all fatal, all Latino men.
Two of the Vista men were shot by police in this neighborhood, one of the victims in this trailer park. The bullet holes are a reminder to neighbors. They still have questions about why the man was shot and killed by police. And the same questions are being asked by the San Diego Coalition for Justice. Art Cribbs, Coalition for Justice: The San Diego County sheriff’s office has been involved in six shootings in Vista in a two year period. Six shootings, where in the county of San Diego that same department was involved in 12 shootings. Over almost half of those taking place in one city, three over a five day period, all investigated by the San Diego County sheriff's office, reviewed by the district attorney's office. That is too close a relationship.
The coalition, along with another citizens' group, El Grupo, asked the attorney general's office to investigate. And yesterday it got this response.
The attorney general did not agree to an independent investigation of the shootings. It will instead review how the district attorney's office reached its conclusions about the shootings. In five of the seven cases, the DA said the shootings were justified, two investigations remain ongoing.
Art Cribbs says it is only the first step in the right direction.
Cribbs: But as we go forward, we want to see the state attorney general's office becoming the agency of peace officer involved shootings. We want it to do more than evaluate and review documents given to them by the investigating agency that may well be investigating itself.
The attorney general's office did say if during its review, it found investigations of the shootings were not thorough enough, it will ask the DA's office for another investigation. So in his response, the attorney general left himself some maneuvering room to ask for more information, to say the investigation was incomplete, and so on. Groups like the Coalition for Justice and El Grupo most likely won't let this end with just a review of the review.