REPORT ON THE SHOOTING OF LUIS GUTIERREZ NAVARRO BY YOLO COUNTY SHERIFF’S SERGEANT DALE JOHNSON AND DEPUTY HERNAN OVIEDO
District Attorney claims leave many Questions Unanswered
by: Eric Alfaro
TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………..……...….. Inadequate explanation for officer contact………………………….……………............ Department Of Motor Vehicles: Minimal Information………………….…………...…… Hector Bautista: Testimony Contradicts D.A Report …………....………………...…........ Dale Johnson: Evidence of Racial Profiling and Lack of Ethic Sensitivity.….……...…... Hernan Oviedo: Contradictions ……………..........................................……..….…..….. Rudolfo Flores: Possibilities of a Rehearsed Statement………..............…………..……... Skewed Crime Reports.............................................……………………..….………....... Conclusion............................................................………………………..……………....
Introduction On November 24th, the California Attorney General's office completed the review of a Yolo County District Attorney report regarding the killing of Luis Gutierrez. The Yolo County District Attorney, acting as an independent agency, addressed the issue of whether the county has enough evidence to file criminal charges in connection with the killing of Gutierrez. If enough evidence was available, Sergeant Dale Johnson and Deputy Hector Bautista would face homicide charges in the Yolo County court. The report did not find substantial evidence suggesting gross negligence on the part of the Sheriff officers, Johnson and Bautista. According to the report, Luis Gutierrez was being chased by undercover Sheriff's Officers when he suddenly swung a knife at them. The officers responded with shots, one of which lethal-hitting Gutierrez in the back. A very high number of inconsistencies exist in the report and can be easily spotted by readers who have been following the case. The Yolo County District Attorney has made a very inadequate and almost comical attempt to validate the shooting of Luis Gutierrez. Too many inconsistencies exist, and can be proven by simply scrutinizing the data offered in the report. Inconsistencies and Problematic Conclusions Inadequate explanation for officer contact According to the detailed chronology released by the Yolo County District Attorney: While continuing westbound on the downgrade from the overpass, they observed an Hispanic male adult, later identified as Luis Gutierrez Navarro, walking eastbound on the north sidewalk of East Gum Avenue. There were no other persons in the immediate area. Deputy Bautista thought Navarro looked familiar and might be on probation or parole. Deputy Oviedo thought Navarro looked familiar but was not sure of Navarro’s identity. Sgt. Johnson exposed his badge and gun to Navarro by lifting up his shirt. Sgt. Johnson told Navarro that he was with the Sheriff’s Department and that he would like to speak with Navarro. Navarro looked at Sgt. Johnson, then looked in the direction of Sgt. Johnson’s waistline, where the badge and gun were, put his hand in his right front pants pocket, and took off running eastbound, up the inclined roadway toward the Highway 113 overpass. According to the officers involved in the killing, Luis Gutierrez looked familiar and was possibly on parole. The inability of officers to distinguish facial features is not a concrete explanation as to why Luis Gutierrez arose suspicions in the first place. In relative terms, a Hispanic male walking in the middle of a residential neighborhood might seem like a parolee to officers lacking enough racial sensitivity training. Sgt. Johnson claims that his badge and gun were brandished to Luis. Gutierrez, and that he identified
himself as a Sheriff's Department officer. Sgt. Johnson informed Luis Gutierrez that he wished to speak with him. The prospects that any sane individual would, without second thought, agree to speak with a person who had just brandished a lethal firearm seem highly unlikely. Brandishing weapons, regardless of the circumstances, causes a panic in most people. Once he saw the weapon, Luis Gutierrez began to flee. The weapon was brandished and was followed by a verbal request to speak from the undercover officer. Regardless of whether the badge was also seen, a verbal demand supported by the brandishing a lethal weapon does not seem like orthodox police protocol. Clearly, the verbal request could have been taken as a threat. Department Of Motor Vehicles: Minimal Information The D.A's detailed chronology report makes a very short remark regarding the Woodland DMV. According to the report: Department of Motor Vehicles paperwork was found in Navarro’s possession that indicated he had been at the Woodland DMV office earlier on April 30, 2009. What is not revealed, in the report drafted by the Yolo D.A, is that Luis Gutierrez had been at the DMV to take a written exam. According to the Father, Jose Santos Gutierrez- his son had passed his exam on April 30th and a written confirmation from the California DMV was delivered by mail to his residence days later. Information regarding Luis Gutierrez's score on the exam or testimony from DMV personnel were never collected and analyzed. Hector Bautista: Testimony Contradicts D.A Report The D.A's detailed chronology claims that at least two of the three officers thought they recognized Luis Gutierrez as a known parolee or gang member. The report's detailed chronology states: Deputy Bautista thought Navarro looked familiar and might be on probation or parole. Deputy Oviedo thought Navarro looked familiar but was not sure of Navarro’s identity. Sgt. Johnson did not know Navarro. In that same report compiled by the Yolo County D.A's office, Deputy Bautista's testimony seems to contradict the D.A's earlier claims. In his testimony, Bautista claims: All three noticed a single Hispanic male individual with a shaved head, wearing a white T-shirt and green pants, walking eastbound on the north sidewalk of East Gum Avenue. Deputy Bautista did not recall any of them recognizing the Hispanic male. Deputy Bautista stopped his vehicle so that they could contact the Hispanic male. The detailed chronology claims that Deputy Bautista and Deputy Oviedo thought Luis Gutierrez looked familiar. On the other hand, in his personal testimony, Deputy Bautista acknowledges that no officer recognized Luis Gutierrez.
For unknown reasons, Deputy Bautista stopped his vehicle to contact a Hispanic male that, according to his testimony, was not known by any of the officers. Deputy Batista has no mention of any officer identifying themselves before Luis Gutierrez allegedly began fleeing. According to Deputy Bautista's testimony: Sgt. Johnson contacted the Hispanic male, later identified as Luis Gutierrez Navarro. Sgt. Johnson said, “Can I talk to you?” Navarro then immediately ran from Sgt. Johnson, moving eastbound up the overpass and then into the roadway of East Gum Avenue. He goes on to claim: Sgt. Johnson and Deputy Oviedo immediately pursued Navarro on foot. Sgt. Johnson said, “Yolo County Task Force. Stop.” Deputy Bautista did not notice or see Navarro’s hands. Deputy Batista contradicts the D.A's detailed chronology. According to Bautista, Deputy Oviedo and Sgt. Johnson never identified themselves as officers until after Mr. Gutierrez started fleeing. It was then that Sgt. Johnson ordered Luis Gutierrez to stop fleeing and identified himself as part of the Yolo County Task Force. As far as records can show, the Yolo County Task Force does not exist; Sgt. Johnson was probably referring to the Yolo County Gang Task Force, which is a legitimate branch of the Sheriffs Department. Any person orientated with local law enforcement, could have possibly mistaken the Yolo County Task Force as a fraudulent criminal imitation of a legitimate branch of law enforcement. Lastly, Deputy Bautista's Testimony states: Deputy Bautista moved his badge from his belt to around his neck on a chain so responding units would identify him as a peace officer. It is of great concern that Deputy Bautista relocated his badge from his waist to a chain around his neck in order to allow responding units to accurately identify him as a peace officer. Deputy Bautista was then obviously aware that a badge worn at the waist could impede people, even law enforcement officials, from accurately identifying him as a peace officer. Dale Johnson: Evidence of Racial Profiling and Lack of Ethic Sensitivity As with Deputy Bautista, Sgt. Johnson's claims directly contradict the overall fabric of the D.A's detailed chronology. According to Sgt. Johnson's video recorded testimony, with Yolo D.A investigators present: Sgt. Johnson was not sure whether it was Deputy Bautista or Deputy Oviedo who suggested that they contact this person, later identified as Luis Gutierrez Navarro. Later in the interview, Sgt. Johnson said that it was Deputy Bautista’s idea to make the contact, and he, Sgt. Johnson, agreed. Sgt. Johnson claims that it was under Deputy Bautista's request, that an effort was made to make
contact with Luis Gutierrez. Deputy Bautista alleges in his testimony that he did not know Luis Gutierrez; although Sgt. Johnson claims Deputy Bautista called for officer contact to be made. Sgt. Johnson'a gang expertise comes into question when he arrives at the following conclusion: Navarro was wearing a white baggy shirt and dark pants or shorts. Sgt. Johnson stated that he is aware that Hispanic gang members will often not openly wear their gang colors. Instead, the gang member will wear generic colors to disguise their particular affiliation. Sgt. Johnson did not know Navarro but thought that either Deputy Bautista or Deputy Oviedo did. Sgt. Johnson claims that Hispanic gang members will often not wear gang colors but will instead opt for wearing generic colors to disguise their affiliations. This claim is extremely problematic and hints on the possibility that racial profiling was committed. Sgt. Johnson seems to devise a manner in which Hispanics dressed, either in gang colors or in generic colors can all be categorized as gang members. Hernan Oviedo: Contradictions Deputy Oviedo claims, in his testimony, that he along with Deputy Bautista thought they recognized Luis Gutierrez. Deputy Olviedo's testimony claims: There was nothing unusual about the person that attracted their attention. Deputy Bautista thought the person was on parole. Deputy Oviedo thought the subject looked familiar, conceding that he is bad with names but good with faces. Deputy Oviedo's testimony is in direct contradiction with that of Deputy Bautista's. Deputy Bautista claimed that none of the three officers ever recognized Luis Gutierrez. It must be noted that Deputy Oviedo's testimony is the account that most closely resembles the detailed chronology established by the Yolo County District Attorney. Rudolfo Flores: Possibilities of a rehearsed statement The witness testimony of Rudolfo Flores is very suspicions in the way in which it complements almost perfectly the criminal “persona” needed to validate the killing of Luis Gutierrez. According to the testimony of Mr. Flores: Flores told Lazaro the person who died was known as “Indian Gutierrez” because he was a good knife thrower. According to Flores, the deputy was lucky not to get killed because Gutierrez, who is a Sureño gang member, is a dangerous person and had said he would not let the cops take him. The testimony of Rudolfo Flores, who was in the custody of the Yolo County Sheriff's Department, seems to fall so perfectly into place that it appears rehearsed. According to Flores, Luis Gutierrez was a “good knife thrower” and a dangerous Sureño who would
not let the cops take him (alive?). Little analysis on the part of the Yolo County District Attorney was conducted when examining the testimony of Mr. Flores. In the Spanish language and Mexican culture Indio (Spanish for Indian), is most often used to refer to someone with dark facial features or someone who has obvious common lineage with the Native American population of Mexico. Being an Indio,does not hint on expert knife throwing skills. It is instead used to identify a person based on physical features. CRIME ANALYSIS OF AREA SURROUNDING INCIDENT Skewed Crime Reports The Woodland Police Department, in its investigation, took into account the recent gang activity in the area where the undercover officers encountered Luis Gutierrez. The area bordered by Main Street, Gibson Road, East Street, and the area approaching County Road 102 was reported to have had 700 crimes committed the four months prior to the shooting of Luis Gutierrez. With closer inspection and investigation, the area which covers 10% of the population of Woodland can be seen as comprised of many diverse neighborhoods with diverse environments. The Yolo County D.A included a very generalized analysis of an area covering far greater territory than the real area traveled by Luis Gutierrez on April 30th, 2009. Conclusion The report on the killing of Luis Gutierrez prepared by the Yolo County District Attorney was not prepared in a professional manner. Contradictions between all three of the parties involved in the shooting of Luis Gutierrez are not address or resolved. The Yolo District Attorney's detailed chronology appears to have been fabricated and not based on the testimonies of the three officers involved. Questions as to why Luis Gutierrez was first spotted and approached still remain unsolved. Sgt. Johnson's theory that Hispanic gang members often wear plain colored clothing to hide gang affiliations was not scrutinized or addressed by the Yolo D.A as possible racial profiling. It is confirmed by the Yolo County D.A report that Luis Gutierrez has used translators in the past to understand the English language. The D.A prematurely dismisses the possibility the Luis Gutierrez could have possibly lacked a proficiency in the English language with the following claim: Navarro used a Spanish interpreter in each case; however, there is a file note from the deputy district attorney handling the case indicating that he felt that Navarro understood English.
Unless the Deputy District Attorney is qualified to assess the degree of English proficiency for nonEnglish speakers; the claims by the Deputy District Attorney are unfounded. Because of the large inconsistencies with the testimonies, and the failure by the part of the Yolo County District Attorney's office to prepare a reasonable and balance report—the report titled REPORT ON THE SHOOTING OF LUIS GUTIERREZ dated September 9th, 2009 is henceforth ruled as unacceptable.
henceforth ruled as unacceptable.