[UPDATED w/ Photos of Cameras] Sister of Martin Hernandez Says DA Office Told Her Mother There's No Surveillance Footage of Fatal Shooting
UPDATE, JULY 30, 8:51 A.M.: The fatal officer-involved shooting in an alley that ended the life of Martin Angel Hernandez earlier this year provoked differing accounts from the community and the Anaheim Police Department simmering tensions that have recently exploded. The definitive back-up, it was hoped, lay in possible surveillance footage from different mounted cameras. As the world over has seen, such a thing can be the difference maker from the beating death of Kelly Thomas in Fullerton to footage from the chaotic scene in Anaheim after the gunning down of Manuel Diaz.
"I knew that I was only going to believe what was on the videos," Martin's mother Caroline Toneygay says, "But when my daughters went [to see them], Anaheim PD had already came, took down three surveillance cameras and confiscated them."
As the investigation ran its course, she was insistent about finding what truths that they might hold. "This whole time I was told that the DA was still viewing the tapes by the attorney that had put a subpoena on them," she adds, feeling led on. "Two days after the two recent shootings, the investigative DA on Martin's case finally calls me back to ask me what videos am I talking about."
When Toneygay responded saying the same ones she always insisted on, she was rebuked, asked "what cameras?" and told that there were never any videos that captured the incident that night.
"This left me speechless," she says. "I had put all my trust in the justice system and now I got slapped with this. All I wanted was the truth."
ORIGINAL POST, JULY 27, 2:37 P.M.: Seeking shade from the midday sun, family members of Martin Angel Hernandez posted up beneath a bus stop along Harbor Boulevard during yesterday's Anaheim Police Department protest holding a banner image of the slain 21-year old with his son, Zahid.
Sonia Hernandez, Martin's sister and a member of the Anaheim Cruzaders, lost her brother on March 6 to a controversial officer-involved shooting more than five months ago in an alley near the corner of Wakefield and Haster.
Tensions arose in the community leading to a forum of presentations where Anaheim Chief of Police John Welter was present and offered new details into his department's version of the events leading up to the killing. Residents pressed him on the question of mounted cameras positioned on the alley, their whereabouts and what they show.
"As far as the cameras go, the District Attorney, most likely, has those," Welter said, not denying their existence. "I'll be very interested to know what the cameras revealed." Now, Caroline Toneygay, the mother of Martin Hernandez, may never have an answer to that question for herself.
Following last weekend's fatal officer-involved shootings of Manuel Diaz and Joel Acevedo by the APD, Sonia Hernandez's mother suddenly received a response after persistently calling for months. "The DA finally contacted my mom," she tells the Weekly, "All of a sudden there's no more videos."
The apparent discrepancy between what the police chief had mentioned in March versus what Hernandez's family has been told now has them wondering what's going on? The DA's office response was recounted as being along the lines of, "What videos? What are you talking about? There's no videos."
It was unsettling to have Welter qualify the whereabouts of the critical surveillance footage as being 'most likely' in the possession of the DA. This latest development to arise as the half-year mark since Martin Hernandez's death nears coupled all that has transpired this past week has his sister Sonia openly sounding a demand that has been somewhat deflected so far by those seduced by the Police Chief's savvy velvet glove public image approach as opposed to the presentation of an iron fist.
"If it's going to take firing Chief Welter to change Anaheim PD," she says, "Then let's do it."
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