Good question, isnt it? One that should be answered…..from the looks of his record, certainly is not serving the public as an elected public servant.
Hector Villagra who is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California had this to say:
In a nation defined by the concepts of justice, due process, and the rule of law, police must obey the law while they enforce the law. So who polices the police?
We depend on the local district attorney’s office to investigate the conduct of police officers. Now the Orange County District Attorney’s office has been called upon to investigate misconduct against Kelly Thomas, the Fullerton man who was beaten to death by six police officers last month.
Can we rely on Tony Rackauckas to police the police? His record speaks for itself.
The OC Weekly reported that as of 2004, “during Rackauckas’s 10-year reign, the DA’s office has only once pursued charges in an officer-involved shooting case (against Douglas Bates, a customs officer, in 2005)”.
There have been many more shootings—and many more officers cleared. Indeed, between January 2006 and September 2010, there were 73 officer-involved shootings in Orange County, more than half of them fatal. The DA’s office was responsible for conducting investigations into nearly all of them.
In 2007, the DA’s office cleared two Huntington Beach police officers involved in the shooting death of Ashley MacDonald, who was shot 15 times when she charged at the officers with a knife. In that case, the DA’s office upheld the Sheriff’s Department policy that if an armed suspect is less than 21 feet away, an officer who fears for his or her life is allowed to shoot to kill.
In 2009, Rackauckas’ office cleared an Anaheim officer who shot 20 year old Julian Alexander. Alexander had walked into his yard carrying a stick to investigate a commotion while his pregnant wife and in-laws slept inside. An officer shot him twice in the chest and then handcuffed him. Julian Alexander later died at a local hospital.
At that time, I was the Director of the ACLU of Southern California’s Orange County office, and I called for Rackauckas to conduct a complete and rigorous investigation of the officer’s conduct. The officer was back on duty two months later.
So we continue to question whether the DA can be relied on for an impartial investigation of Kelly Thomas’ death. The DA’s response to these concerns — that in 2008 his office filed charges against Christopher Hibbs, an Orange County sheriff’s deputy accused of tasering an armed-robbery suspect who was handcuffed in the back of his patrol car – sounds like the proverbial exception that proves the rule.
It’s time to make a change. Whether it’s having the state attorney general or the federal department of justice investigate or creating a civilian review board to investigate, we need to ensure police accountability — to make sure police officers know that they will be held responsible for their actions when they use excessive force.
50 officer shootings in 5 years have never been prosecuted.
JULIAN COLLENDER: http://justiceforjulian.freewayscollide.com/updates/
Ashley McDonald, Jason Velarde, Antonio Saldivar:
In another recent local case, a Costa Mesa police officer admitted pulling a gun on a teenager after the officer noticed that the boy and his friends were riding their bikes without helmets. He chased the boy into the boy’s backyard and drew his gun. After the boy’s dog came to defend him, the officer shot the dog 15 times. The city paid the family a large sum of money, but the police department insists the officer’s behavior was correct police policy. That’s perhaps the scariest part of this whole disreputable incident.
She is a thorn in the side of the Anaheim Police Department. At least, that’s what she has been told.
Theresa Smith is the mother of Caesar Cruz, a 35-year-old Fullerton resident who was shot by Anaheim police officers in a Wal-Mart parking lot in 2009. Cruz was married for 12 years and had five sons.
Frustrated with the lack of information from authorities regarding his death, Smith has organized and led weekly protests outside the Anaheim Police Department.
Despite protesting each week at the heavily trafficked intersection, most Orange County residents may not know who she is. She’s been there with family and supporters for over a year and a half yet Cruz’s death has long fallen off the public’s radar.
Orange County Register, ABC7 News and OC Weekly reported the story of her son’s death and a family vigil. In March 2010, her protests also received coverage from those media outlets. However, Smith said, she hasn’t been contacted by the media since.
There is one thing she wants to make clear to authorities: she wants justice for her son and she will not stop until she gets it.
There are many more families that are seeking justice, and their cries fall upon the deaf ear of elected District Attorney Tony Rauckaukas-who panders to the police & sheriff unions while ignoring the public he was elected to serve. Join us, make your voice heard….JUSTICE for all…..