Investigations continue in fatal incidents involving Oxnard Police
- By Gretchen Wenner
- Posted October 12, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
Various investigations and legal actions are in play regarding the shooting of Alfonso Limon Jr:
Ventura County Sheriff’s Office: Oxnard police asked sheriff’s officials to investigate the high-profile Alfonso Limon Jr. incident. Typically, the Police Department would conduct its own investigation. Sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Buschow said the report was submitted to the District Attorney’s Office several weeks ago. “At this point, it’s up to them to review it,” he said.
Ventura County District Attorney’s Office: As is standard with significant law enforcement incidents, the DA’s office determines whether any officers will face criminal charges.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Janice Maurizi said the office has not yet finished its inquiry into the Limon shooting. The office also hasn’t finished its review of the June 2012 death of Robert Ramirez, who was overdosing on methamphetamine and died in Oxnard police custody.
“Our investigations are ongoing and we’re continuing to aggressively pursue the truth,” she said. “It’s important for the community to know that we take these matters very seriously.”
Separately, an FBI spokeswoman on Friday said the bureau’s investigation of possible civil rights violations in the Ramirez case did not support the allegations and the case has been closed.
The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office has not released the autopsy report and death investigation.
Office of Independent Review: At the direction of Oxnard Police Chief Jeri Williams, the department hired an outside agency to review both the Limon and Ramirez incidents. The OIR, a private firm in Los Angeles staffed by lawyers, will write public reports assessing the department’s training and response after the DA’s investigations are done.
Oxnard Police Department: Eight of the nine officers involved last year’s incident have returned to full duty, the department said. The ninth retired.
Lawyers for the Limon family filed a federal lawsuit in March, as did Ramirez’s family. Adam Shea, one of the Limon family’s attorneys, said depositions are on hold until the DA finishes its review. “Our hands are somewhat tied because we don’t have any of the investigative reports,” he said. A trial is set for April but could be delayed, he said.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
Alfonso Limon, 21, and Jose Zepeda, 24, both of Oxnard, were identified Monday as the two who died after police exchanged gunfire with some suspects running from officers Saturday night in the La Colonia area.
Chief Williams was asked at the news conference Tuesday about rumors that Limon asked officers not to shoot him, that his body was dragged from the scene by police, and that more people were actually shot Saturday.
Williams said nobody else was shot, and that officers gave medical assistance to Limon. The other rumors will be investigated, she said.
“It is also important to note that our officers have been impacted by this incident, as well,” she said. “We send our heartfelt concerns for those officers and their families.”
Oct. 22, 2012: Oxnard crowd protests officer-involved shootings
Protesters gathered at Del Sol Park at 5 p.m., many carrying signs condemning the shootings. Speakers addressed the crowd, including Elliott Gabriel, a member of Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective, a local group that has rallied this year against what it calls Oxnard police brutality.
Gabriel said Oxnard would not be safe for residents unless they defend themselves from what he said are overzealous police who too often commit brutality on the people they are sworn to protect.
Oct. 24, 2012: Oxnard wrestles with tension over police shooting
Chief Williams, who has led the department since January 2011, said in an email late Wednesday it is her responsibility to be the face of the department in good and bad times.
“This is a difficult time for many — it is most understandably difficult for the Limon family, as they are experiencing a terrible tragedy,” she wrote.
The document says Alfonso Limon Jr., 21, was walking home with his brother in the La Colonia neighborhood about 10 p.m. when he was mistaken for someone involved in a shootout after a police traffic stop.
“According to witnesses,” Limon, in full view of officers, “put his hands up and yelled multiple times ‘don’t shoot, don’t shoot,’ ” before police opened fire, the claim against the city says.
“While on the ground and still alive, multiple (officers) approached him and continued to shoot at him and killed him,” the claim says.
The Office of Independent Review, an oversight group created by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, has worked on other high-profile cases where police behavior has been questioned, including the case of Kelly Thomas, a schizophrenic man who died during an altercation with Fullerton police in 2011. Its report is published on the department’s website.
A march to mark the anniversary of Alfonso Limon Jr.’s death is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
The event was organized by the Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective, a community group that has held peaceful marches and vigils but also uses strong anti-police rhetoric.
“One of the purposes of the march is to simply ensure that this killing is not forgotten,” said Elliott Gabriel, an organizer with the collective. The Limon family is expected to attend.
Participants will gather at 4 p.m. at Del Sol Park at 1500 Camino Del Sol, at the intersection with Rose Avenue in Oxnard.
Read the group’s material at http://todopoderalpueblo.org.