SDPD Chief Vows Probe Of Officer's Alleged Online Mockery Of Dead Suspect
Speaker 1: 00:00 Our top story. The San Diego police officer involved in the fatal shooting downtown of an alleged robber in June has been suspended. Jonathan Lucas is off the job without pay pending an investigation into a mocking photo posted on social media here to discuss these odd developments is KPBS reporter max Rivlin Nadler, max. Welcome. Good to be here. We'll start by telling us what happened in June with the shooting of Leonardo Ybarra. Speaker 2: 00:28 So we borrow, it was a wanted in connection with a alleged robbery. Uh, this was at the height of protest against police violence across the country. Uh, officers shot Barra downtown outside of a supportive housing unit that they apparently recognized him and received a tip and recognized him as he exited, uh, within seconds, literal seconds of approaching him. He pulled something out of his waistband, pointed it towards them. They shot him multiple times. He died on the scene. Um, and what was recovered at the scene was a handgun. Speaker 1: 00:59 And so the shooting, uh, looked, uh, at least the investigation still going on. I know, but the shooting looked like it was, uh, it was up and up, not like a lot of these other shootings we've seen around the country, which were highly questionable. Speaker 2: 01:13 Right. So what was interesting about this was this was a part of a new practice by the San Diego police department to get body camera footage as quickly as possible. Of course, that varies depending on, you know, necessarily how it lets me has the police department look, but the photos and the video was released within 24 hours. And people were able to get a pretty clear look that he bar at that moment did point something at the officers. So, you know, if there is such a thing as a quote unquote justified use of force, um, this would qualify for it under a state law. Speaker 1: 01:46 And so a photo mocking, the makeshift Memorial for Ribeira was posted on Instagram. What did that look like? Speaker 2: 01:52 Yeah, so it was posted on this private Instagram account, uh, that, that did not have the name of the officer attached to it, but it was a photo of the vigil that had taken place, um, at the scene where he Bauer was shot and killed, made by his loved ones. And it had a bunch of crying, laughing emojis, as well as a hashtag East side, making fun of something that somebody had written on the vigil. So it was posted by a private individual. Somebody online was able to link to this law enforcement officer because it identified themselves as a police officer and even included a photo of them. Speaker 1: 02:29 And how did it actually come to light? I mean, somebody passed this on to the police department, right? Speaker 2: 02:34 Yeah. Ultimately somebody did pass this on to a bunch of activists in the area. They put it out on social media and eventually wound its way to the police department Speaker 1: 02:43 And chief of police. Uh, David [inaudible] was not happy about the situation. Here's what he said yesterday. This unnecessary act only reopened wounds during an already painful time. I want to assure our community that they do not take these allegations. Lightly officers take an oath to protect and value all life. And what are community activists saying about this incident and, uh, the Ibarra family, Speaker 2: 03:09 The Abara family is saying that this is reopening old wounds or fresh wounds really from, from the shooting that happened just, you know, a little over three months ago. Uh, the, the idea that a police officer would take somebody's life and then mock them on, on Instagram kind of reinforces the worst opinions that people have about police officers and how willing they are to use force. That's something I think in his life was really getting at during his press conference yesterday that, you know, basically this is so beyond the pale, in fact, you're seeing much quicker action in relation to this Instagram post than you would in other internal investigations. Cause a lot of what San Diego police department does in terms of, um, any possible discipline for its members, uh, is always kept secret. So we don't know this is something that obviously there's like wanting to get out in front of and he's choosing to make it public. Speaker 1: 03:58 What other reactions are you seeing on social media for instance, and I'm very curious about police officers, if they're reacting as the union said anything, or is it maybe too soon for them? Speaker 2: 04:08 Yeah, I haven't seen any reaction yet. Obviously when something that [inaudible] was saying was that, you know, this officer is afforded due process. Uh, they're going to have a chance to defend themselves community activists, again are just saying this fits a larger pattern of, of basic disregard for human life, by police officers across the country. Um, and again, whether it's justified or not, um, the, the shooting and whether that is something taking one's life could be justified taking another person's life could be justified. Um, the idea of mocking them and especially the people that love them, uh, is, is something that people can agree is reprehensible at every level. Speaker 1: 04:44 Right? And especially in this time, I mean, given everything that's going on and the protests and reactions across the country, the other shootings, this, uh, you know, electrified atmosphere surrounding the election, it's just hard to imagine this could surface like this to what purpose. Speaker 2: 05:00 Yeah, no, it's, it's upsetting. And again reinforces the worst, um, kind of opinions that people have of how police officers talk about them amongst themselves. Right? This was a private account. This was these. They had used a pseudonym to identify themselves. They were passing themselves off as kind of a fitness guru for police officers. It was, it was really showing that the police belong to a separate community and not the one that, that exists, you know, for the rest of us, if that's something that police officers want to bridge and law enforcement agrees and that's something is light. And the mayor has said that they, they agree that there needs to be a lot more work done. Um, even today the city announced, uh, you know, changes and new panels to look into, um, ways to improve relationships between the community and police, you know, things like this can't happen. Speaker 1: 05:50 Yeah. It's interesting. The timing of that announcement that may have had something to do with this incident. So what happens next? How the department proceed, if we know, could the officer Lucas be fired, Speaker 2: 06:01 Ms. Lake was chief and his leg was strongly hinting that he would be interested in terminating this officer if, uh, the, these, uh, allegations were substantiated. Of course, he said, there's due process. The union is going to get involved on top of that. California law is very protective of law enforcement officers, especially those who are being disciplined. So, you know, whether the actual proceedings will come to light and whether we'll know the final outcome is entirely up to in his late, um, like he indicated yesterday during his press conference, he seems very interested in making sure that the public knows as much about this as possible again, to kind of dispel. What are some of the worst impressions people have of law enforcement? Speaker 1: 06:40 Well, we'll certainly be watching and reporting on what happens next and how this case plays out. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, max rebelling. Neteller. Thanks, max. Thank you.