Voice of OC applauds and joins the Orange County Register in calling on Sheriff Sandra Hutchens to identify the sheriff's deputy who shot and killed a Marine in San Clemente this week in front of his two daughters.
The Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs has defended the deputy's action and taken issue with the department's official version of events.
From the post filed by Register investigative reporter Tony Saavedra:
The Sheriff's Department and the Orange County District Attorney's Office are sorting through the details as part of a standard investigation, the results of which won't likely be disclosed for months.
There's one fact, however, that is available now and that does not have to be withheld to preserve the integrity of the investigation: the name of the deputy who pulled the trigger. The sheriff's office could go a long way toward preserving its credibility with the public and the media by releasing the name …
The 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled last week that the names of officers involved in shootings are public under the California Public Records Act, absent a real and identifiable threat to the officer. The case was about a Long Beach man shot and killed by police while holding a garden hose nozzle.
So, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, the Watchdog is asking you to release the name of the deputy who shot Loggins. We sent a formal request under the CPRA on Friday and were told Tuesday by spokesman Jim Amormino that the name would not be released at this time. So we're appealing publicly to you.
Before you reject our request, consider this: the appellate court ruling matches a 2008 opinion by the California Attorney General's Office that the names of officers involved in critical incidents are generally public information. Now, there is a caveat — unless withholding the names serves the public welfare more than releasing them.
Usually that means that the name should be withheld to protect the officer and family from physical retaliation, such as in the case of an officer who shoots a gang member.
But Loggins was no gang member. He was a decorated Marine, who, we are told, was accustomed to following orders. Do you want to make the argument that the deputy and his family would be physically endangered by Marines if his name were released?
— NORBERTO SANTANA JR.