JUNE 1, 2009 MEETING SUMMARY
On Monday, June 2, leaders of Woodland’s Latino community met with City officials to discuss the concerns that have been expressed by Latino residents in response to the death of Luis Gutierrez-Navarro. The meeting was organized by Woodland Vice Mayor Art Pimentel and included the following leaders: Jesse Ortiz, Counselor, Woodland Community College Cirenio Rodriguez, Trustee, Yolo County Office of Education Marco Lizarraga, La Coperativa Campesina, Yolo County Sylvina Frausto, Holy Rosary Parrish Reverend Uriel Ojeda, Holy Rosary Parrish Olga Nevarez, Principal, Cache Creek High School Evelia Genera, Principal, Woodland High School Jorge Ayala, Superintendent, Yolo County Office of Education Edgar Lampkin, Woodland Joint Unified School District Irma Rodriguez, Chair, Latino Community Council Art Pimentel, Woodland Vice Mayor Skip Davies, Woodland Mayor Carey Sullivan, Woodland Police Chief Mark Deven, Woodland City Manager
During the two and one-half hours meeting, City officials listened as the Woodland community leaders discussed the concerns that have been expressed by many residents in the aftermath of the tragedy, including: How the results of the investigation by the Woodland Police Department would be perceived by the Latino community; The appearance of collusion among local law enforcement officials; How the incident has generated fear among parents for their youth; The need for Woodland community leaders to respond proactively to the tragedy; The responsibility for public officials to answer questions from the Gutierrez Navarro family.
Woodland officials also provided information on the course of the investigation. Chief Sullivan stated that the Police Department was responsible for investigating the incident because it happened in Woodland. The Police Department will report the facts associated with the investigation to the Yolo County District Attorney who will review the investigation and determine what, if any, further action is necessary.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the community leaders and City officials agreed on the following actions: Community leaders and City officials need to continue the discussion of the incident and other issues that have been generated in the aftermath; Additional efforts need to be made to educate and inform Woodland residents regarding law enforcement procedures used to provide a safe community and their individual rights when contacted by law enforcement officers; City officials will review the current level of diversity training for employees; Continued exploration of successful community models such as the Mayor’s Gang Task Force in San Jose for dealing with issues like those impacting Woodland; Successful youth role models will be asked to help support Woodland youth looking for positive alternatives; Community forums will be organized to provide residents with an opportunity to express their concerns to Woodland officials.
The Latino leaders in attendance at the meeting expressed their appreciation to City officials for holding the meeting and trust that the additional actions expressed at the conclusion of the meeting will occur. The Woodland Mayor, Vice Mayor, Chief of Police and City Manager expressed support for implementing the actions. In addition, the Latino community leaders stated that they will present a request to the Yolo County District Attorney to conduct an independent review of the Woodland Police Department’s investigation of the incident. The leaders stated that an independent review of the incident by a resource such as the State Attorney General would address the concerns of the Latino community.