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SPD Refuses to Release Names of Shooters in Recent Officer Involved Killings
by Monterey County Police News
Wednesday Jun 11th, 2014 10:09 PM
On June 10, the Salinas Police Department and the City of Salinas, in a letter from the City Attorney, denied Freedom of Information Act requests from six local corporate news agencies seeking the names of the shooters in the recent officer involved killings of Carlos Mejia, Osman Hernandez, and Angel Ruiz that occurred on May 20, May 9, and March 20 respectively. The SPD is claiming the officers' safety would be at risk if they were to name them publicly. The SPD also refused to release any information as to whether the officers involved in the May 9 and May 20 shootings had been involved in any previous shootings.

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The media requests included a request for the names of all the officers who have shot people in the last five years. According to the department, there were no officer involved shootings between 2009 and the end of 2011.

The SPD did release some information on officer involved shootings that occurred in Salinas between 2012 and 2013:

September 28, 2012 - Richard Chacon Jr. was killed by Salinas police officers Robert Zuniga and Mas Yoneda.

September 13, 2013 - A woman was wounded by Salinas police officer Jeff Alford, who shot her on East Market Street.

July 26, 2013 - Juan Luis Acuna was killed on Kern Street in Salinas by nine officers from several agencies, which included seven Salinas police officers, a Monterey County sheriff's deputy, and a California Highway Patrol officer. The SPD refused to release the names of any of the officers involved in this killing.
§Woman shot by Officer Jeff Alford on Sept. 13, 2013 was Charlene Hale
by Monterey County Police News Thursday Jul 10th, 2014 2:49 PM
"In the past two years, six people have been shot by Salinas Police Department officers. One was a woman, and she was the only one who survived. Her name is Charlene Hale."

"She was shot by Officer Jeff Alford on Sept. 13, 2013 outside City Suds Laundromat on the corner of East Market and Pajaro streets."

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KSBW filed a Public Records Act request for the names of the Salinas Police Officers who killed Frank Alvarado on July 10, but SPD denied the request. The department has hired an attorney who made available to KSBW their packet of communications they have received that they consider threats (see PDF).

From KSBW:

"You may recall that we at KSBW – along with our media partners in this matter, The Californian newspaper, KION-TV and KSMS-TV, filed a California Public Records Act request for the identities of all officers involved in each shooting. This month, we also filed a CPRA request for the identity of the officer involved in the July 10th shooting. For each of these cases, our request was flatly denied. The city’s rationale: specific threats – and that word “specific” is key here - against the police officers."

"On Thursday, a Santa Ana based attorney, hired by the city to deal with our media requests - we believe to stonewall against them - released a packet of documents which purportedly are evidence of the “specific” threats against the officers. In it are pictures of graffiti, emails and more; but after reviewing them, we are hard pressed to find anything specific directed at anybody. It’s more just a collection of photos and blustery emails, colorfully worded at times, but hardly threatening."

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by G
Thursday Jun 12th, 2014 2:08 PM
At the end of May, 2014, in


the California Supreme Court decided...

The Court of Appeal properly upheld the trial court's denial of plaintiff-police union's request for a permanent injunction to prevent the release of the names of its officers involved in certain shootings while on duty, where: 1) here, in weighing the competing interests, the balance tips strongly in favor of identity disclosure and against the personal privacy interests of the officers involved; 2) no exemptions under the California Public Records Act is applicable here; and 3) the trial court's denial of injunctive relief was without prejudice to any later evidentiary showing that disclosing a particular officer's name would compromise that officer's safety or the safety of the officer's family.

What use are Supreme Court decisions if police departments and City Attorneys habitually ignore their sworn duties?!
Just wanted to pass this along....
by #CarlosMejia
Friday Jun 13th, 2014 10:32 AM
¡Sin Justicia, No Hay Paz!
by Observer
Friday Jun 13th, 2014 12:57 PM
The State Supremes did not create a blanket "you shall release information in all cases" ruling. It ruled that the information should be released in most cases. However, if a local agency can make a specific showing that the officers' lives would be endangered by the release of names, then the agency can still refuse, subject to, of course, judicial review if the requestor(s) go the court route.
It seems to be a predictable pattern.

So, to paraphrase, the highest Court in the state ruled, the SPD and City Attorney ignored that ruling, in defense of alleged murderers no less, and all is as it should be?
by Observer
Friday Jun 13th, 2014 5:22 PM
I realize, G you're trying to spin the court ruling into an absolute which it isn't. If the City of Salinas can show to the satisfaction of the Monterey County Superior Court that there is a clear, specific threat to the involved officers, the names can be withheld. And the "investigation" exemption still applies. This will get hashed out in court.

The dissenting Justice practically urged the Legislature to step in and change the law in such a way as to abrogate the high court's ruling-that is, effectively void it. The legislature can do that. I read a summary of the ruling by a municipal law firm that specializes in representing law enforcement and they tended to support a blanket exemption. The Peace Officers Bill of Rights could be amended to completely shut the door to the public, for example.
by G
Friday Jun 13th, 2014 7:15 PM
To paraphrase, again; if the courts won't grant alleged murders immunity perhaps the legislature will.

Such a sad killer fetish, that cherrypicking.
by Robert Norse
Saturday Jun 14th, 2014 1:44 PM
...if killer cops are being protected by higher-up's and their peers--whatever the courts and legislature says.

As distinguished from the phony balony hysteria around drugs, homeless camping, and needles, polilce violence is a real public safety hazard--particularly because the perps are so well protected. Has anyone heard anything about Officer Vasquez being sanctioned for dropping Richard Hardy face down on the sidewalk in handcuffs. Likely the only reason we know about it or the name of the cop who did it is because Brent Adams happened to be there with his video camera. (See ).

The powerful police union and the Copley decision have virtually destroyed civilian review state-wide.

We need a local Wikileaks to let the community know what the police departments hide.