OC DA Clears Santa Ana Police for Shooting Unarmed Cholo in the Foot
After more than four years, the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office finally got around to clearing a SanTana cop in a May 18, 2010 shooting. The agency found no wrong doing when officer David Jensen shot 21-year-old Yoni Velasquez in the foot after a--you know it!--foot pursuit, leaving a bullet hole in his white Nike kicks.
According to the DA investigation, two Latino men were reported as suspects in a Fountain Valley car theft of a black Infiniti on May 15, 2010. Three days later, Santa Ana police responded to a call about an armed robbery near Diamond Elementary School in the city. The victim said two Latinos drove up to him in a black Infiniti and stole his cell phone at gunpoint.
Officer Jensen found the car driving around Santa Ana, and matched the plates of the stolen Infiniti. The cop didn't speak to OCDA investigators but gave testimony in the 2012 criminal trial against Velasquez, saying he approached the car when it parked on LaVerne Avenue. Jensen gave chase after Velasquez caught sight of him and started running.
Believing him to be an armed robbery suspect, Jensen fired once when Velasquez turned towards him before scaling a backyard fence. The bullet struck him in the foot. Backup arrived at the scene, and Officer Brian Mercer arrested Velasquez after finding him leaving the home he hopped the fence into.
Police didn't find a gun on Velasquez or anywhere near the scene. They did find his Nike shoe, bloodied, with a bullet hole in it.
Last year, a judge sentenced Velasquez to 13 years in state prison for armed robbery and unlawful taking of a vehicle with gang enhancements added in.
"It cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the shooting was not reasonable and proper in accordance with the legal principles of self-defense," the investigative letter concludes.
As always, read the report in its entirety online.
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2
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