BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MISSUSE OF CORONER INQUESTS

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BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MISSUSE OF CORONER INQUESTS

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BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MISSUSE OF CORONER INQUESTS

Amended October 5, 2021

The Board of Supervisors (Board) has voted to open a coroner inquest on three Deputy-Involved Shooting (DIS) cases (Mr. Dana Mitchell “Malik” Young, Jr., Mr. Samuel Herrera, Jr. and Mr. Dijon Kizzee).  What is difficult to understand is for what logical reason. 

All completed internal criminal investigations are submitted to the Office of the District Attorney – Justice System Integrity Division (JSID), as well the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Going forward, my intent is to share force investigations handled by the Homicide Bureau with OIG, shortly after they are given to JSID, unless JSID objects to preserve the integrity of the investigation, or on the following grounds: (1) disclosure would endanger the safety of a person involved in the investigation; (2) the completion of the active criminal investigation would be jeopardized; or (3) the privacy interest outweighs the interests of the disclosure.

Additionally, all three of these cases have been publicly posted for some time at LASD.ORG with the official finalized coroner reports, incident summaries, and names of involved deputies.  In the case of Mr. Kizzee, video footage of the DIS and video of the press conference are also available to the public.

Note: Due to the Board’s funding delay tactics, the Department was not yet equipped with body-worn cameras (BWC) at the time of these incidents, therefore no BWC footage exists.   

A coroner inquest can only address the question of circumstance, manner, and cause of death.  In all three of these cases, those questions have already been determined and the cases are with JSID to decide if the deputies’ actions were lawful.  

Although a coroner inquest may provide for good political theater from which to launch political attacks, this will be a colossal waste of tax dollars and will not provide one single shred of new information.  Additionally, these actions may serve to jeopardize any criminal case which could be determined by JSID.  

The Board should address the real problem; why does it take so many years for JSID to make a decision as to the lawfulness of each DIS?  I have already publicly called on the DA to issue a letter of opinion on each DIS within 90 days of the case being submitted, and I ask the Board to join me.

All loss of life is tragic and our hearts go out to the family and friends of Mr. Young, Mr. Herrera, and Mr. Kizzee.  It is painful to see the Board exploit tragedies for their political agenda.