Delay in Criminal Investigation of Cops Who Killed Immigrant May be Coming to End

A federal judge Tuesday lifted an almost two-year stay in a lawsuit against two officers who shot a 20-year-old immigrant in the back, citing unreasonably long delay in a criminal investigation of the officers.

Nicholas Iovino | Courthouse News Service

March 16, 2017 | SAN FRANCISCO, CA

A federal judge Tuesday lifted an almost two-year stay in a lawsuit against two officers who shot a 20-year-old immigrant in the back, citing unreasonably long delay in a criminal investigation of the officers.

U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam found delaying the case further would impede the immigrant’s family’s right to speedy trial and unjustifiably postpone the resolution of a case “in which the public has a strong interest.”





San Francisco police Officers Craig Tiffe and Eric Reboli shot and killed 20-year-old Guatemalan native Amilcar Perez Lopez in the Mission District on the night of Feb. 26, 2015.

It was one in a string of high-profile police shootings that shook public confidence in the city’s law enforcement, leading to protests, calls for reform and federal review of the San Francisco police.

After the shooting, then-Police Chief Greg Suhr told reporters that Perez “lunged at the officers with a knife overhead,” but an autopsy revealed he was shot five times in the back and once in the back of his head.





The city now claims Perez was lunging at another victim with the knife when he was shot.

Perez’s parents sued the city in April 2015, claiming two eyewitnesses saw the officers shoot their son in the back as he ran away, and that the autopsy provides “unequivocal physical evidence” to support that.

In April 2016, Gilliam granted a request to separate the trial into two phases — first to decide whether the officers violated Perez’s civil rights and then to determine whether the city is liable.

In that same April 2016 ruling, Gilliam authorized the Perez family to obtain investigative files from the police and interview witnesses, but he barred the family from seeking direct testimony from the two accused officers.

Gilliam found the officers would likely be compelled to invoke their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent due to the criminal investigation, which could prejudice them at trial.

But on Tuesday, nearly a year later, Gilliam found further delay in seeking testimony from the officers no longer justified because “the court cannot predict with any certainty when the district attorney will make a charging decision in the criminal investigation.”





A civil grand jury report issued last year faulted the city for lack of timeliness and transparency in its process of deciding whether to prosecute officers who shoot civilians.
–> Continue to full report at Courthouse News Service.

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Filming Cops
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Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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