Skip to comments.Sonoma County grand jurors say they're not equipped to investigate officer-involved shootings
Posted on 07/13/2014 8:03:09 PM PDT by Rabin
Every year since 2001, the Sonoma County grand jury has reviewed what police call critical incidents officer-involved shootings and the deaths of suspects or criminal defendants in custody.
Until this year.
The 2013-14 grand jury, whose term ended June 30, declined to examine such cases.
That includes the October fatal shooting of teenager Andy Lopez by Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus, among other deaths involving law enforcement in the past year. Citing a lack of expertise, financial support and public misconceptions about their role, Sonoma County grand jurors decided to diverge from the longstanding custom.
(Excerpt) Read more at pressdemocrat.com ...
How is it possible that a Grand Jury, comprised of citizens, and “vetted” by the judicial system... is “unqualified” to render a jury decision? FIND A NEW GRAND JURY YOU DUMB F**KS!
Entitlement society. Federal marshals will
It’s a lousy prosecutor that can’t get a grand jury to do what he or she wants.
And if the prosecutor wants the grand jury to acquit a clearly guilty cop, what options does a grand jury have?
Defy the prosecutor with all the grief that will entail, acquit and be damned, or just declare they aren't equipped to make the call?
I was thinking the same thing.
This article was in our local rag here in SR this morning so I read the whole thing. I actually side with the Grand Jury on this one. (A friend of mine was on the GJ a couple of years ago so I got to hear an insider’s perspective, and basically he told me that the citizens want the GJ to Right All Wrongs in our fair county, which of course is impossible.) At any rate, this Grand Jury that just closed shop pointed out, quite logically, that they’re just a bunch of public-minded citizens and do not have the standing or the knowledge base to figure out if the D.A.’s lack of action is appropriate or not. The very most they can do is refer the issue back to the D.A. again with the instruction to look at the issue in more depth. Uh, that’s gonna do a lot of good. Not.
It’s not the GJs job to investigate. It’s their job to make a decision to prosecute based upon the evidence presented to it by the DA.
This sounds like the GJ is making excuses for itself. How hard is it to request the police report of the incident and the DA’s report and a witness or two???
Maybe they want to wait until after the civil trial but there won’t be one because Santa Rosa will settle out of court for a ton of bucks to avoid discovery.
BTW does anybody have a link to the DA’s report — I don’t want a download, just a link to the PDF to see how the DA explained away all the damning evidence.
WITNESS TAKES ISSUE WITH DA’S REPORT ON ANDY LOPEZ
Several things stand out from witnesses in the report:
The shooting started almost immediately after the car had stopped and the officers had gotten out and had positioned themselves and their guns in the V. Once in this position they said nothing more before opening fire.
The order to throw down the gun was given from inside the car — not from outside when they had their guns in the V where it might be heard.
The DA mentions that the kid was carrying the gun in his hand but doesn’t say which hand which is curious. Instead we have to hear from witnesses that he was carrying it “like a toy” in his LEFT hand.
The DA spends a lot of time on the path of one particular bullet — her magic bullet — to the exclusion of the others as her evidence that when it entered his arm he must have been facing the shooter. Of course her own ME disagrees with her.
[developing] — more to come]
The DA got herself a Lewinski:
Page 30  of the report on the gunshot wounds all show that he was shot with his right side to the shooter [#1, #3, #4, #5, #7]]
Wound #6 shows that his left arm was pointing away from the shooter when shot as the bullet enters the right side of the left forearm and exits the left palm.
Wound #2 shows that he was shot in the back while he was lying face down on the ground. It enters his right hip and passes through his left lung into his upper back.
All shots were right to left, in the right side, or in the back right side, none in the front or on the left side.
At no point could the kid have been facing the shooter.
Not one wound or piece of forensic evidence backs up the DA’s decision.
Page 9  CAD log shows 10 seconds but audio tape shows 19 seconds from the beginning of the first call [Code 20, two units] to the end of the second call [shots fired].
Part of that 19 seconds was the car in motion pulling up to a stop [5 seconds?] and part of it was after the first shot to the second call [7 seconds?].
So how much time to unbuckle seatbelts and pull weapon without shooting yourself in the foot and open the door and position yourself in the V [5 seconds?]
That leaves all of 2 seconds to yell “drop your gun” and give him time to respond.
From page 12 of the report:
When Gelhaus got out of the car into the V crime scene techs determined that Lopez was a distance of 67.5 feet from Lopez.
It can be assumed that when Gelhaus spotted him he was about 120 feet away.
He made a snap decision that the kid had a real AK47 from that distance — 120 feet — even though as they closed the distance to less than 60 feet he should have gotten a better look at the carrier and the toygun.
From page 37 of the report: 3 bullets lodged in the body, 4 passed through, and 1 missed entirely — total of 8 shots fired, the last 3 or 4 being carefully measured per witnesses.
1] First one went high as he was aiming for the head but missed entirely and it went into the house across the way.
2] Second one caused superficial wound to the upper left arm. DA claims that this one was front to back proving he was facing the deputy at the time disagreeing with her own ME on this who says it was back to front. The DA makes a federal case out of this one even though the wound was superficial.
Also this shot in the left arm may very well have caused the gun that it was carrying to fall out of his hands. Thus after this shot there may have been no threat.
If he was facing the shooter at this point then how did he get turned around again to get shot 6 more times on his right and back side.
The DA had to disagree with her ME here because this shot is devastating if it was backside of left arm to the front because it means that that he was clearly shot with his back to the shooter on this second shot.
3] This is stunning from the DA’s own words on page 38:
“He was hit in the left upper arm, then the left chest, and as he started to fall to the ground 5 more times.”
What??? Is this DA for real??? the left chest??? He was shot in the right side of the right chest with the bullet lodging in the left chest. And this was the kill shot.
4] DA determines that the next 2 shots [4 and 5] were to the forearms of both left and right arms and found lodged in the fence across the way.
[They would likely have caused anything he was still holding onto to fall to the ground — thus there would have been no further reason to shoot.
Furthermore the one that entered the right side of the left forearm exited the hand meaning that that left arm was pointed away from the shooter at the time and thus whatever he had in it was not pointed toward him and not in his hand anymore.]
5] This was the 6th round fired and hit Lopez in the right buttocks while he was on or near the ground.
6] This was the 7th round fired and entered the right buttocks exiting the back and went into the dirt and was never recovered. Once again shot in the back while falling or on the ground.
7]This was the 8th and last round fired and while he was on the ground going into the right hip and lodging in the left chest. Had the third shot not been fatal then this would have been fatal as well.
So we have a policeman whose first shot is a head shot that misses high, second shot grazing the back of the left arm while the kid’s back is turned, third shot enters the right side chest and kills as the kid is turning to his right, fourth and fifth shot hits right sides of his arms as he’s turned sideways, sixth-seventh-and eighth shot in the back right buttocks as the kid is falling to the ground or on the ground.
If the Grand Jury is for real and can read this report, then it should return a bill of indictment.
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