Families, activists unite to demand accountability in deputy-involved shootings

Stephany Cobian, 10, the sister of the man shot by deputies on Jan. 21, speaks at a press conference Wednesday.

Carmen Cobian (front) and Arzenia Ratliff (back) hold pictures of their deceased sons.

LANCASTER – Several wiped away tears as 10-year-old Stephany Cobian spoke of the deputy-involved shooting on Jan. 21 that claimed the life of her big brother Christian Cobian, 26.

“I don’t understand why the police had to shoot him just because he was riding a bike without a light,” Stephany Cobian said. “If I was riding my bike, would the police shoot me?”

Stephany Cobian was backed by a crowd of about 40, which included local civil rights leaders and family and friends of Darrell Logan Jr., Christian Cobian, and Donald Handy – the three men shot dead by Sheriff’s deputies within the past four months. The group stood together for a press conference Wednesday to demand accountability from the Sheriff’s Department and elected local leaders and to call for a civilian review board to oversee deputy-involved shooting investigations.

“In the last several months, three people have been killed by the local sheriffs utilizing methods which warrant questioning if not criticism…” said Miguel Coronado of The League of United Latin American Citizens of the Antelope Valley (LULAC). “A thorough and impartial investigation of every one of these incidents and of the internal policies and culture which may be contributing factors should be investigated…”

Darrell Logan Jr.

Darrell Logan Jr.

On October 13, 2011, Darrell Logan Jr., 32, was shot 11 times by deputies in his garage. View the Autopsy Report here. According to a Sheriff’s press report, released the day of the shooting, deputies responded to Logan’s home after receiving a call about gunfire coming from the residence. Deputies made verbal commands for Logan to exit the garage but he refused to do so, according to the Sheriff’s report. “When deputies entered the garage they were confronted by the armed suspect and a deputy-involved shooting occurred,” the Sheriff’s report states. Logan’s mother Arzenia Ratliff, continues to dispute the Sheriff’s account of the events, and says the man who was inside the garage with Logan at the time of the shooting tells a different story.

Christian Cobian

On Jan. 21, 2012, Christian Ivan Cobian, 26, was shot and killed in an alley by deputies. 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.

Donald Handy

On Feb. 1, 2012, Donald Handy, 68, was shot dead by deputies who were serving a narcotics warrant at his home.

“Upon entering into the residence, a 68-year-old male white suspect [Handy] suddenly exited a bedroom armed with a four-foot sword and raised it toward a deputy that was nearby,” said Lieutenant Mary Leef of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau. “A deputy-involved shooting occurred at that time and the suspect was shot multiple times and transported to the local hospital where he was pronounced dead.”

Leef said the sword was recovered from the scene.

At Wednesday’s press conference, family members and friends of all three men spoke emotionally about the incidents.

Donald Handy was suffering from prostate cancer, could hardly walk, and was getting around with the assistance of a cane, according to friend Emmett Murrell.

“Don didn’t have a sword in his hand and if he did he was in his house, not knowing who it was!” said Murrell.

Cobian's grandmother is comforted by LULAC AV president Lilia Galindo.

Family members said Christian Cobian had just finished celebrating the baptism of his two younger siblings, Stephany and Anthony, when he left for the store and never returned.

“If the police thought he was armed they could have used different methods to stop him, things that they learned in training,” said Stephany Cobian. “They shot him not just in the legs but in the back, chest and the head.”

Flanked by Darrell Logan’s mother and father, friend Stan Muhammad called for the community to question whether there was gang violence within the Sheriff’s Department.

“We’re not saying the whole sheriff’s department is corrupt, but the one’s who are perpetrating the violence must be held accountable,” said Muhammad.

AV Human Relations Chairman Darren Parker said the community was struggling to understand the Sheriff’s Department’s use of force.

Logan family friend Stan Muhammad speaks while mother Arzenia Ratliff and father Darrell Logan Sr. look on.

“We don’t understand as regular citizens why our community seems to be targeted,” said Parker. “It may not be the case but that is definitely the perception… help us to stop the misperception that we are being targeted just because of the way we look.”

The group demanded that elected officials immediately create a citizens review board or civilian oversight committee to investigate alleged police malpractice in the Antelope Valley.

The group also demanded that local elected officials refrain from making judgment on deputy-involved shootings before due process, and called on the local media to publish articles in an unbiased and objective manner. Read the full speech of main speaker, LULAC member Miguel Coronado here.

  16 comments for “Families, activists unite to demand accountability in deputy-involved shootings

  1. Bill B
    March 11, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    The sad paert is the community does not see it from the victims point of view, they only see and percieve it from what the sheriff’s say, if we all got together and actually made the Antelope Valley a community with unity and stopped letting the sheriffs run our cities doing whatever they want just cuz they say that something is a certain and instead of being against each other, we wouyld be able to be one of the best communities to live in inn all of California

  2. Mike Rives
    February 10, 2012 at 8:55 am

    I called for creation of a Civlian Review Board a month before the last shooting. I also spoke to the Lancaster city council about. It is not anti-law enforcement. It is anti-bureaucracy. The newspapers reports that internal affairs, sheriff’s homicide, sheriff’s shooting board, office of independent review board and the D.A. are investigating the shootings. Why not make it simple? Investigation by internal affairs, review by the Civilian Review Board and then a verdict. If it is criminal, then the D.A. gets it.

  3. tammy
    February 9, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Most if not all of you commenting in support of law enforcement in this valley dont have a clue.You pass judgement on these criminals as you call them and you dont know anything about them. What criminal history did Don Handy have? He was busted with drugs (of which was for his own personal use)and he complied with the judges order regarding rehab. I’m sure several of you as well as some deputies are using illegal substances. Does that make you and them criminals? This isn’t an issue of race, it’s an issue of unarmed human beings being slaughtered.Don’t you think 5 or 11 or even 1 shot into the backside of a man is wrong? If you have never been on the receiving end of the thugs with badges, pulled out of your car at gunpoint because of the way you look or the car you drive, your lucky.It happens more than you know and that is a violation of your civil rights. Reporting it doesn’t do a damn bit of good, so it continues. You can go through life with blinders on believing that these deaths were justified. Ignorance is bliss, I feel sorry for you.

    • Facts
      February 9, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Maybe we need a “Community Oversight Committee” to evaluate what is happening in our community by its’ own residents. Then they can handle the criminals who shoot guns in their houses, the wanted fugitive Inglewood gang members trolling the Lancaster streets late at night, the old white guys who use and sell meth from their AV homes, and the roommates who shoot each other. LULAC, TCAL, AVHRC, can you try fixing the real problems first?

      I think I’ll still rely on the Sheriffs when I need help.

      • Dr. Miguel A. Coronado
        February 11, 2012 at 7:27 pm

        Getting your facts from the AV Press is not intelligent. Did you speak to the Cobien family? Mr. Cobien was not from a gang, he did have some problems with the law, but that did not warrent his death. Mr. Cobien went to the store to buy cigarettes the same night his brother and sister were introduced to Christ. Mr. Cobien did not have any tattos on his body. Get your facts together..

        Dr. Miguel A. Coronado, Ed.D.
        LULAC Spokes Person

        • Facts
          February 12, 2012 at 8:58 am

          Fact: 26 year old Christian had a drug problem;

          Fact: 26 year old Christian had a warrant for his arrest from Inglewood due to his drug problem;

          Fact: 26 year old Christian was still using drugs up until the time of his unfortunate decision to flee from the police which led to his unfortunate death.

          Fact: LULAC wasn’t there to provide life guidance for 26 year old Christian in his preceding 26 years of life.

          Fact: LULAC is only here now to exploit the publicity behind this incident for their own selfish self promotion.

          Mr. J. Q. Citizen
          A.V. Community Spokesperson

          • Matt S
            February 12, 2012 at 1:05 pm

            That’s right. Kill ALL drug users! Past and present. (Will Rex be on their “to do” list?)

          • Stinger
            February 12, 2012 at 5:42 pm

            Wow, “Facts.” So you are now blaming LULAC for his death? By that very same logic, one can easily blame YOU for not having done something to get this guy off of the drugs that you claim him to have been using.

            So, why did you kill him, “Facts?”


          • Jo
            February 12, 2012 at 7:12 pm

            That’s right Stinger. A wholly volunteer local group can only support those they believe they may need to stand up for AFTER they have guaranteed and delivered every child a trouble free life. Right!

  4. Cleo Watts Jr.
    February 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Darren Parker and his cronies again screaming that minorities are being targeted. How unusual. The picture of Don Handy looks like a white guy. That’s inconvenient I’m guessing. The thing that I see in common with all 3 of these folks is…….criminal history. Let me know when cops shoot a person with no criminal history, who was obeying commands,not trying to escape the cops,not carrying a sword. Although I understand the grief the families feel about the death of a loved one, when will the family stop blaming the cops, and put the blame where it belongs: on the criminal. You folks whine that the cops don’t keep you safe,protect you, etc, but when they arrrest YOUR family, you complain. You want laws enforced, as long as its not on you, right? The Logan shooting is especially annoying to me, since the cops responded to calls of shots fired. The story reported that his girlfriend lied to cops and said he wasn’t in the garage. Now you folks have the nerve to say the cops planted a gun? You can’t be serious. Normal folks in this area are not taking you seriously when you have crazy stories like that.

    • Ishmael Gutierrez
      February 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      When youre a law enforcement person, You can never win when youre dealing with ghetto people! If you don’t do anything and dont bother with their neighborhoods, they scream about “racism” and say you are neglecting them and leaving them to the mercy of criminals and thugs.

      Then, if you step in do something, they scream “racism” again and say that your are being too heavy handed with them.

      There is no winning either way!

      And then the ghetto people wonder why nobody wants anything to do with them and why everyone moves when they show up. They use to call it “white flight” but I say its more like “common sense flight”.

      Anyone with common sense will get the hell away from ghetto people just to preserve their sanity!

      • Matt S
        February 9, 2012 at 11:29 pm

        Cleo, Rex Parris has a criminal history. Guess you won’t mind if he reaches for his waist band and gets shot for it. And since he makes things like renting rooms to Americans he doesn’t like a reason to take someone’s business and shut it down, or charge someone with a back debt to the IRS a “felony embezzlement” charge and other exotic penal codes that can make anyone a felon, anyone can be considered OK to take one in the back.
        Some old man who was trying to save the lives of discarded animals just a couple of weeks ago got charged with 9 felonies. His crime? He got in over his head. Why? because idiots were dumping their unwanted pets in the desert, and he got overwhelmed. In foreclosure and overwhelmed, he called for help. Guess he just got lucky being charged with 9 felonies. Instead of being shot. How dare he try to help too much and be unable to keep up. Criminal!
        Per you “all government is bad and not to be trusted” types always believe YOUR government is OK. Whether a deputy with a badge, animal control person with a badge, building and safety inspector with a badge, or mayor with a large bank account and crumbling city are somehow always right? Always right. Why do I get the idea that you’re one of those government employees?

        • Jacky Johnson
          February 9, 2012 at 11:51 pm

          And there is extra funding for the number of LA county courthouses that put out the most felonies. It’s always about the money.

        • Cleo Watts Jr.
          February 10, 2012 at 8:35 am

          Matt, I don’t live in Lancaster, so I don’t have anything to gain from Rex. If he does have a criminal history, then the folks who voted for him deserve what they get. The several cops I’ve talked to don’t even know Rex, have never met him, and don’t care about him. The way I understand it is the sheriff is contracted by the city. If the city fires the sheriff’s dept. tomorrow, those cops would still have their jobs, just 15 minutes down the road in Palmdale. They don’t work for Rex. The story I read about the former owner of the Desert Inn said she was years deliquent in paying taxes to the city, not the IRS. Its the district atty who filed charges, not Rex. All you folks talking about “the system” making people felons, I always thought one’s actions made them a felon. Its not like new, unknown felonies just magically appeared lately. You need to meet up with Maureen at court and keep looking for that shooter on the grassy knoll….aka…conspiracy theory!

  5. Jacky Johnson
    February 9, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    It’s nice to see the community come together. And a civilian over-site committee would help the citizens feel like someone is listening to our concerns. People say that sheriffs many times refuse to take reports. This would insure that never happens.

Comments are closed.