[UPDATED W/ Caesar Cruz Connection] Anaheim Police Shooting of Unarmed Parolee in 2011 Ruled Justified by DA's Office
See the Update on the connection of the officer-involved shooting of Caesar Cruz in 2009 at the bottom of this post.
Raya, a 23-year old Fullerton resident, was staying at his girlfriend's apartment on West Guinida Lane when the APD Crime Task Force attempted a probation search at the residency that day. Officers had been informed in late July by the Gang Unit that he was "said to be an armed parolee-at-large with a warrant for his arrest."
A foot pursuit followed whenAnaheim police investigator Bruce Linn
first fired three rifle shots and later two more after Raya jumped out of a window and continued to flee. The officer claimed that Raya had made motions towards his rear waistband both times before opening fire, fearing for his safety. No weapon was ever retrieved from the scene.
"Given the information Investigator Linn knew of Raya's criminal history and his propensity to be armed," the DA Office letter states, "Investigator Linn reasonably interpreted Raya's movement toward his waistband as a move for a gun."
An interview with Raya's girlfriend briefly noted that she thought that he attempted to hold up his shorts at the front pockets with both hands during one point of the pursuit. Though the incident occurred early in the day, the only other eyewitness to the actual shooting listed in the investigation was Linn's partner, Chad Meyer, who corroborated his fellow officer's account of events. In the end, a glass pipe was said to have been found by authorities in Raya's waistband near the small of his back.
The officer-involved shooting of David Raya marked the start of an uptick in the city of such incidents as seven more would follow in the span of one year's time, the last one killing 21-year old Joel Acevedo on West Guinida Lane on July 22, 2012. According to OCDA records obtained by Colorlines, starting in 2003 through February 2011, there has been 40 shooting cases by Anaheim police officers with every single one of them cleared of criminal culpability.
Later this month, on Friday, October 26, peaceful protesters are planning to assemble at the main office of the District Attorney in Santa Ana at 9 a.m. to voice their anger at the justification of such police actions over the years and that came to form a core of the social unrest that erupted earlier this summer.
UPDATED OCT. 3 2:36 P.M.: As was the case with Anaheim Police Department Investigator Kelly Phillips, the officer who shot and killed David Raya was also involved in the fatal shooting Caesar Cruz in December 2009. Investigator Bruce Linn is listed first among five officers named in the Orange County District Attorney's Office letter regarding that incident clearing him and all others of any criminal culpability.
Cruz, a father of five, was shot numerous times outside a Wal-Mart in Anaheim Plaza and has become the namesake of the Anaheim Cruzaders, an organization of grieving families that has grown around Theresa Smith's early protests following her son's killing outside police department headquarters.
The one-page OCDA letter issued in that officer-involved shooting is considerably less detailed than the eight-paged account released regarding Raya. Greater transparency, same end result.