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Y Que

Y Que features articles, essays and thoughts that affect the community.

Please note: The purpose of this page is to provide a forum for discussion and thought.  It does not reflect the opinions of the LSP group, only of the individual writing it.

Another Tragic Shooting

BY Chris Coursey ON October 14, 2013

Now that I'm a candidate for Santa Rosa City Council, I can't write columns for the PD any more. But if I did, today I would write something very similar to a piece I wrote more than 13 years ago, after a series of police shootings in our community.

 I don't pretend to know all of the circumstances surrounding the Oct. 22 shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez. I don't post this to point fingers at the sheriff's deputies involved, or to suggest what I would have done were I in their shoes. I post it because now, like then, many people will pretend to know, many people will point fingers, many people will suggest what the deputies should have done. But in the midst of all of that noise, only the law enforcement community - in this case the Santa Rosa Police Department acting as investigator of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office - will get to know all of the facts. Then they will turn the case over to the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office for a final determination.


One law enforcement agency investigates another law enforcement agency and the outcome is determined by another part of the criminal justice bureaucracy that the first two work with every day.

 I'm not suggesting that process is dishonest. But its very structure raises questions and leaves doubts. Its lack of independence and transparency leaves the door open to those who will claim that the investigation favors those who wear a badge.

 I believe now, as I did 13 years ago, that another, independent body should be involved in these cases. Not to tilt the scales of justice, but to give the public confidence that the process is truly fair, transparent and unbiased. Here's what I said in my PD column in May 2000. I think the same argument applies today.

click here to read the column...  

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