San Diego Police say there are no 911 calls for black man struck by officers in La Jolla

Responding to a newspaper request, the San Diego Police Department recently said it had not received any calls to 911 regarding a homeless black man in La Jolla who ended up being repeatedly struck by a pair of officers.

The response raised questions about why the ministry had previously said it would withhold 911 calls related to the May 12 incident when Jesse Evans, 34, was arrested.

City officials said the initial response was a clerical error.

In late May, La Prensa San Diego newspaper requested under the California Public Records Act that the department turn over the audio of any 911 calls related to the incident, which was recorded by a witness and broadcast online, triggering outrage in the community and beyond.

In response, the police department published a “call for service” log, which indicated that an officer had initiated the interaction with Evans. But the department also said it chose not to broadcast the audio of 911 calls.

The newspaper filed a lawsuit in an attempt to compel the department to publish the audio of all 911 calls. The lawsuit claimed the city had failed to thoroughly research and incorrectly enforce exemptions from the law. state law by responding to the request.

On June 29, the department amended its response to the request for documents, telling the publisher of La Prensa Art Castañares that it had determined that there had been no calls to 911. In a letter from Followed up last week, the San Diego city attorney’s office told Castañares that the initial response “was a clerical error in that no SDPD 911 calls related to the Jesse Evans incident of May 12, 2021 , was not found or retained “.

In the letter, the city’s prosecutor’s office says it considers the trial moot and requests that Castañares withdraw it.

In an interview Thursday, Castañares dismissed the city’s claim that there had been a clerical error. He said the police department must have found something that led him to say he was withholding calls to 911.

“It opens up more questions than it answers,” Castañares said.

He added: “Before they can apply for an exemption, they need to thoroughly research the availability of documents, and then, if they impose or claim an exemption, (that) needs to be carefully considered.”

He said the city had on two other occasions changed its responses to requests for documents on other issues after filing a lawsuit.

“I shouldn’t have to take legal action and take the time and energy to find out their first answer wasn’t right,” he said.

The police department declined to comment on Thursday. Asked to explain the clerical error, the city attorney’s office said in a statement that someone initially responded to the request with incorrect information. The office also shared with the Union-Tribune a statement in which a dispatch administrator sworn in that she searched and found no calls to 911.

Castañares was joined by Reverend Shane Harris of the People’s Association of Justice Lawyers in calling for the release of all 911 calls related to Evans’ arrest. They said they wanted a better picture of what prompted the officers to arrest Evans – and whether the officers acted based on racial prejudice.

Video of the encounter, recorded by body-worn cameras, indicates that officers were about to answer another call when they stopped Evans near the busy intersection of La Jolla Village Drive and La Jolla Scenic Drive.

Police said officers saw Evans urinating in public. Evans said he unbuttoned his pants to urinate, but walked away when police approached him and warned him to stop.

According to body camera footage and video recorded by a witness, one of the officers wrapped his arms around Evans from behind as he walked down a marked crosswalk. The other officer pointed a Taser at Evans. The two officers then tackled Evans to the ground and punched him several times in the face and legs.

The incident sparked an internal police investigation. An update on the investigation was not available on Thursday.

No criminal charges have been laid against Evans in connection with the incident.

About Elaine Morales

Check Also

Lilliput libraries: a small project with a strong community impact

A few years ago, Ruth Arnison, a woman from Dunedin, had an unusual idea for …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.