Please attribute the following statement to Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California:
This weekend, a chilling video surfaced showing Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies fatally shooting Noel Aguilar at point blank range while they had him pinned on the ground in Long Beach. Before this video surfaced, the L.A. County District Attorney’s office had found the shooting to be justifiable. However, this new video, taken from a different vantage point, contradicts the deputies’ account of the shooting and raises serious doubts as to whether the killing of Mr. Aguilar on May 26, 2014, was justified.Contact: Catherine Wagner, 213-977-5206, firstname.lastname@example.org Ed Boyer, 213.977.5242, email@example.com
The family of Mr. Aguilar deserves justice. Now that new video evidence is available, the ACLU of Southern California calls on Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey to renew the criminal inquiry into the deputies' conduct. We also call on the sheriff’s department to disclose whether the shooting was found to be within LASD's policies and training, and if so, how they justify shooting point blank a suspect who had been disarmed. LASD's inspector general should also reexamine the incident to determine if this video raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of the deputies’ original reports and the department’s investigation.
Unfortunately, the public likely will never see LASD’s full investigation to evaluate all the evidence or whether LASD’s inquiry was impartial. California law shields police officers’ personnel files from public scrutiny. That means the investigation into this incident and any factual findings, discipline imposed, or retraining required will all be kept secret. The public gives police extraordinary power by authorizing them to kill in our name. Californians deserve to know the full details of any investigation into a shooting or other use of deadly force to ensure officers are accountable for their actions and police agencies are accountable for their training and policies.