The OC District Attorney’s office has published its letter from OCDA Senior Deputy District Attorney Stephen J. McGreevy to interim Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada, detailing its “official investigation and legal conclusion” regarding the officer-involved shooting of Joel Acevedo on July 22, 2012.
Here’s the letter. I haven’t read the letter, but here is the conclusion:
“Based on all evidence provided to the OCDA, the entirety of the facts contained in the reports reviewed, and pursuant to the applicable legal principles, it is our legal opinion that the evidence does not support a finding of criminal culpability on the part of Officer Phillips and there is substantial evidence that the officer’s actions were justified under the circumstances when he shot Acevedo on July 22, 2012.”
“Accordingly, the OCDA is closing its inquiry into this incident.”
UPDATE: After reading the letter, I don’t see how any reasonable person can conclude the shooting wasn’t justified. The evidence supports the testimony of Officers Kelly Phillips, Trang Pham and Daniel Lambaren. There is no evidence to support the cockamamie theory that the officers “executed” Acevedo and planted the gun on him.
As the letter summarizes the evidence:
- Officer Phillips knew the individuals involved attempted to flee from police even before the police had attempted to stop them, that they had engaged in a high speed chase, that the driver was affiliated with a criminal street gang, that they were in the main area of the gang’s criminal activity, and that one of the fleeing passengers of this car dropped and then picked up a heavy object that was consistent with a weapon.
- Officers Phillips, Pham and Lambaren were dressed as police officers and engaged in a foot pursuit of these three individuals;
- Officer Philips saw Acevedo in close proximity to his location and then heard gunfire from Acevedo’s direction;
- When Officer Phillips heard the gunshots, Acevedo was in a position of advantage — i.e., Acevedo was concealed in the darkness behind a car while Officer Phillips was standing vulnerable in the parking lot;
- Officer Phillips then saw Acevedo moving behind a car and he believed that he was in a “kill or be killed” scenario when he shot Acevedo;
- After shooting Acevedo, Officer Phillips saw a gun in Acevedo’s hands;
- Acevedo’s DNA was found on a gun located by CSI investiogator’s by Acevedo’;s feet;
- 3 expended cartridges were found near Acevedo that were found to have been fired from Acevedo’s firearm;
- A bullet fired from Acevedo’s gun was located in the parking lot behind the area where Officer Phillips had stood prior to shooting at Acevedo.
Put more simply: Joel Acevedo was a gang member with a criminal record. He was high on drugs while a passenger in a stolen car whose driver was fleeing police; he jumped out of the car and ran away from the police; he then hid among parked cars and fired several rounds from a concealed position at the pursuing officer, who was in an exposed position — and the officer fired back. Three ejected casings and a fired bullet from Acevedo’s gun were recovered and Acevedo’s DNA was on the pistol.
The driver of the stolen SUV and source of the “Joel Acevedo was executed” story is shown to have no credibility.
Of course, there are those who will persist in believing — against all evidence — that the Anaheim police executed Acevedo and planted the gun. That is because to the conspiracist, the lack of evidence proves the conspiracy.