LANCASTER – The NAACP in the Antelope Valley is outraged by the statement from City leaders backing deputies involved in Saturday’s shooting, which left a 26-year-old Hispanic man dead.
“They are standing behind the deputies no matter what, without knowing the facts themselves,” said AV NAACP President Juan Blanco. “The City leaders of Lancaster also stood behind Arizona on their war to pull over anyone that looked Mexican, so that’s an indication of where they are coming from.”
Homicide Bureau detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the deputy-involved shooting, which happened around 10:55 p.m. Saturday.
Christian Cobian was pulled over by a two-deputy patrol car for riding a bicycle without a light near 10th Street West and Avenue J-4 in Lancaster, according to a Sheriff’s press report. Cobian ignored deputies’ commands to stop, dropped the bicycle and fled, according to a Sheriff’s press report. Deputies gave chase, and during the pursuit, Cobian reached toward his waistband, and that’s when the deputy-involved shooting occurred, according to the Sheriff’s press report. No weapon was recovered and Cobian was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Sheriff’s press report.
Blanco said the incident may indicate a need for more formal training at the Sheriff’s Department.
“My concern is whether or not [deputies] are receiving proper training,” Blanco said. “Your ability to judge a situation in a split second requires formal training. If every time somebody makes a move, you’re scared for your life, you need to be retrained or taken off patrol.”
Conversely, Lancaster City leaders issued a statement Monday giving full support to the deputies involved.
“The deputies involved in this incident and their families have the full support of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris and City Council Members during this extremely difficult time when they will inevitably be second guessed by those who have never had to risk their lives while protecting the hard working families of our community,” reads the statement by City leaders.
Blanco said the City’s statement is premature because the circumstances of the shooting are still being investigated. He also said the statement reflects a lack of awareness and concern for people of color in Lancaster.
“There are some individuals who reside in Lancaster who do not appreciate people of color, and I don’t know if the City Council is influenced by these individuals, but by their actions and statements, it would appear so on the surface,” Blanco said.
Blanco said he will be conferring with the upper management team within the NAACP on steps the organization intends to take towards communicating with Sheriff Baca about Saturday’s incident, as well as the deputy-involved shooting in Palmdale that took place three months ago.
On October 13, 2011, Darrell Logan, 32, was shot 11 times by deputies who responded to Logan’s home after receiving a call about gunfire coming from the residence. Read more here.
“Recent deputy-involved shootings have some citizens of Lancaster concerned about the policies of the Sheriff’s Dep[artment] regarding use of force,” said Michael P. Rives, candidate for the Lancaster City Council in the April 10th election.
In a written statement issued Monday, Rives who is a former Los Angeles Police Department Technical Reserve Officer, called for civilian review boards at every contracting Sheriff’s Station in Los Angeles County.
Rives wants each individual’s actions that are challenged to be reviewed by the Sheriff’s Internal Affairs Bureau and a local civilian review board before a decision is made on the deputy’s conduct. If it is criminal, then it should be referred to the District Attorney’s Office for potential review, Rives said.
“My simple and uncomplicated process will promote local confidence in our local sheriff’s station and the hardworking people who work there,” Rives said.
The Sheriff’s Department in 2009 created a publication to acquaint the public with the various types of life-threatening scenarios commonly faced by law enforcement officers.
“Split Second Decision, The Dynamics of the Chase in Today’s Society” contains eight critical scenarios, based on actual events, and challenges the reader to make a decision at critical points to get an idea of what deputies must face each day in the field.
The publication also contains applicable state law regarding the use of deadly force. Read the publication here.