Justice for Andy Lopez Cruz! (d. 2013-10-22; Santa Rosa) [link]
2014-03-19 from Nancy Palandati, Counsel for assault victim Jessica Perez [email@example.com], and Jon Melrod, Counsel for Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez [Jonathan4536@sbcglobal.net]:
Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch is being sharply criticized for failing to mete out even-handed justice in the highly charged case surrounding the Oct. 22nd shooting death of 13-year old Andy Lopez at the hands of Deputy Sheriff Erick Gelhaus. The charge against DA Ravitch adds to the growing chorus of voices demanding that Attorney General Kamala Harris appoint an unbiased Special Prosecutor to step in to handle the investigation of Deputy Gelhaus’ criminal wrongdoing.
The incident in question stems from a Dec. 3, 2013 picket line in front of the Veterans Memorial Building where DA Ravitch was holding a Pasta Feed. Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez demonstrators had gathered with picket signs to demand that Ms. Ravitch recuse herself from Erick Gelhaus’s shooting of Andy Lopez, because Ms. Ravitch demonstrated bias towards the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department.
According to a December 5th letter sent by a Santa Rosa attorney Alicia Roman to DA Ravitch, “During the event [Pasta Feed] I witnessed Sonoma County District Attorney investigator Les Vanderpool assault three individuals.” Per the Dec. 5th letter, Ms. Roman offered to show Ms. Ravitch a video taken on the spot showing Mr. Vanderpool’s assaulting a young woman. “To this end I would be willing to meet with you to share the video which reveals Mr. Vanderpool’s actions.”
In a telephone and then in an email a few days later, Senior District Attorney Investigator Dave Boffi, informed Attorney Roman that he was assigned to investigate the incident and that the meeting Ms. Roman had requested with Ms. Ravitch, “that is not going to happen [emphasis added] …”
According to the declaration of Jessica Perez, the victim of Vanderpool’s assault, “During the event Les Vanderpool was manning the northeast door when he committed an assault and battery against me. … I was pushed so hard I flew back several feet.” Another demonstrator Carla Green called “the Santa Rosa Police Department to ask for an officer to conduct a citizen’s arrest, however, no officer arrived.”
A twenty-five page packet of documents along with the video showing the Vanderpool assault was sent to Attorney General Kamala Harris on Thursday accompanied by a cover letter demanding that the AG intercede to appoint an outside Special Prosecutor to fairly adjudicate the criminal liability of Erick Gelhaus. According to the letter, signed by Jonathan Melrod, counsel for the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez, the “purpose of this correspondence is to provide you with further compelling evidence of why an independent investigation of theOctober 22, 2013 shooting death of Andy Lopez by Sonoma County Deputy Erick Gelhaus is necessary.”