Vallejo mayor wants review of officer-involved shooting

September 20, 2012 4:55:11 PM PDT
Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis said Wednesday afternoon he will ask the City Council to call for an independent review by the state Attorney General's Office of an officer-involved fatal shooting earlier this month.

Vallejo police officers shot 23-year-old Mario Romero in a parked car near his north Vallejo home on Sept. 2. Police said Romero reached for a gun, which turned out to be a pellet gun.

Citizens protesting the Romero shooting and the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Jared Huey by police on June 30 interrupted two City Council meetings on Sept. 11 and Tuesday night.

The protesters have demanded justice for the victims and an independent investigation by the state attorney general or the FBI. There have been seven officer-involved shootings in Vallejo this year, including five fatal shootings since May 25.

In a written statement this afternoon Davis said, "It must be understood that this request should not be taken as an indication of a lack of confidence in the established Solano County Officer Involved Shooting Protocol, or any lack of confidence in the Vallejo Police Department or the ability of the District Attorney's office to conduct fair investigations.

"However, it is my belief that under the current circumstances a secondary review will help to establish trust in the process," Davis said.

Davis said the Vallejo shootings and other officer-involved shootings in the country have many Vallejo residents concerned.

"I am very concerned about the anger and demonstrated decline in trust in the Vallejo Police Department by some citizens," Davis said.

Davis requested the City Council take immediate action to begin rebuilding trust and communication between the Police Department and the community by calling for the independent investigation.

The Mayor also requested the City Council to direct the city manager to bring forward five proposals to:

Purchase in-car cameras that will be integrated with mobile data computers and emergency systems in every Vallejo police patrol vehicle, and purchase a body camera for all patrol officers in the field.

Reaffirm the Police Department's protocol and procedure for communication with the public and families in incidents concerning loss of life or great bodily harm as a result of violence.

Propose a time frame for re-establishing and reconstituting the Vallejo Human Relations Commission.

Conduct research to select and implement a decision-based firearms/use of force training simulator system.

"Most if the above requests are not new nor are they being initiated simply because of the most recent officer-related incident," Davis said.

There have been previous discussions about in-car cameras, wearable body cameras and reconstituting the Human Relations Commission, Davis said.

"However, these proposals have a greater priority now because of the overall increase in violent crime within our community," Davis said.

Davis said Interim Police Chief Joseph Kreins and his staff are meeting with the Solano County District Attorney's Office on the shootings' investigations.

"While some individuals might question the objectivity if the parallel District Attorney's Office criminal investigation with that of the Police Department's administrative investigation, my concern is that the findings by local law enforcement officials will be discounted as biased by some members of the community," Davis said.

"An independent review by the California Attorney General's Office will hopefully provide greater credibility to the ultimate findings and report," Davis said.

The mayor was not immediately available for further comment this afternoon.


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