LANCASTER – A forum to meet the Sheriff’s Department leadership and to address questions, concerns or complaints involving the department was dominated by family members and friends of Darrell Logan Jr., the man shot and killed by deputies on Oct. 13.
“No one has answered our phone calls, returned our phone calls or given us any information,” said father, Darrell Logan Sr. “I’m shattered right now, I’m broken.”
During the meeting, which was hosted by the AV Human Relations Commission Monday night, several of Logan’s family members expressed their frustrations to the panel of top Sheriff’s brass, including Chief Neal Tyler, Commander Anthony La Berge, Palmdale and Lancaster Station Captains Bobby Denham and Robert Jonsen, and Walter Katz and Diana Teran from the Los Angeles Office of Independent Review (OIR).
“It’s a lot of hurt in this family and we need some answers about what went on with my nephew,” said Logan’s aunt Regina Davenport.
Logan, 32, was shot and killed by Palmdale Sheriff’s deputies on Oct. 13. A statement from headquarters, issued shortly after the incident, said deputies responded to a call around 11:48 a.m. from an informant, who stated that gunfire was heard from a residence [Logan’s home].
Deputies responded to the scene and commanded the occupants to exit the garage but the suspect refused to exit; when deputies entered the garage they were confronted by an armed suspect and a deputy-involved shooting occurred, according to the Sheriff’s statement. Logan’s wife Krystle Washington was at the house when the shooting took place and gave her side of the story to The AV Times on Oct. 14. Read it here.
Monday night Logan’s relatives disputed the Sheriff’s Department’s account of the incident, saying they had spoken to the witness inside the garage with Logan during the incident, and had been told that Logan was unarmed when shot by deputies.
“He went down on shot number 10. How do we know this? Because it was another person in the garage when he was shot,” said Davenport. “An unarmed man was shot multiple times, how can you go in the garage and shoot a man in his own home and then say it was a justifiable shooting, but the other guy did not get shot one time.”
Acknowledging the frustration of Logan’s family members, officials said they could offer little resolve Monday night.
Commander Anthony La Berge said parallel investigations were being conducted by the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau, and attorneys from the Los Angeles Office of Independent Review (OIR).
He said a final conclusion would be made by the District Attorney’s Office on whether the deputy-involved shooting was justifiable, or whether there was criminal intent on the part of the Sheriff’s Department.
“We just can’t discuss it right now until the investigation is completely and thoroughly done and the DA’s office has a chance to review it, analyze it and make their final determination,” said La Berge.
Logan’s mother, Arzenia Ratliff, said she went to the Palmdale Station on Nov. 21 to file a public complaint about the deputies killing her son, and she was intimidated by the Watch Commander.
“The Watch Commander came out, he took me to this little room, he had me so scared,” said Ratliff. “He was telling me that it was justified… [he said] ‘You don’t need to file a complaint, what do you want to complain for?’ I left there in tears.”
“There’s been no finding at this point that the shooting was justifiable or not justifiable,” said Walter Katz, the attorney from OIR who is handling the case.
Logan’s family members seemed to accept that they could not gain immediate answers regarding details of the shooting. But they said they could not accept how they were treated in the hours following the incident.
“The question was really not about what happened at the time of the shooting, the question was ‘is our family member dead or alive’ and we had to wait hours to get that answer,” said Logan’s aunt Paulette Gardner. “[Hospital] security took me to the side and said ‘we’ve been gagged,’ can the community know about this gag policy?”
Ratcliff said her son’s death certificate listed the time of death at 12:37 p.m., yet despite several attempts, she was unable to find out if her son was dead or alive until well after 7 p.m.
“The Palmdale deputies had me at the Palmdale station for two hours telling me the detective was coming out to talk to me, [then] they sent me to the hospital telling me my son was at the hospital, but in critical condition,” said Ratliff. “They sent me back to Palmdale station, then back to the hospital, because no one would talk to me — no one!”
Ratliff said she finally went back to her son’s house around 7:30 p.m.
“I went to the scene, the officer walked up to me, I said ‘I want to know if my son is dead or alive.’ He said ‘your son is dead’ and walked away,” Ratliff said, through tears.
Chief Neal Tyler said he heard the complaints of the Logan family “loud and clear” and could not account for the lack of communication by the Sheriff’s Department.
“I can’t justify it if that’s how it happened and I apologize,” said Tyler. “Instead of giving you a bunch of superficial hooey about ‘oh, don’t worry, I’ll fix it,’ I can only stand up here and apologize about that. You learn from attending a meeting like this.”
A handful of residents, unrelated to Logan, expressed condolences to the Logan family before bringing separate issues before the Sheriff’s Department’s leadership. Palmdale resident Gloria Smith, 77, said someone pulled up beside her in traffic and yelled “Another n**ger with an Obama sticker.” Ed Galindo questioned the department’s policy of impounding cars for 30 days, and wondered if the rule was unfairly imposed on Latinos. Anaverde Hills resident, Steve Hill, said deputies had unfairly shot and killed his Pitbull and was seeking answers. Lancaster resident David Abber spoke about being assaulted by Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. David Grajeda spoke about being unfairly arrested and harassed by Parris and Sheriff’s deputies. And Lancaster resident, Maureen Feller, suggested a Civilian Committee be established to take complaints involving Sheriff’s deputies and route the information directly to the Sheriff’s leadership.