Justice for Andy Lopez Cruz! (d. 2013-10-22; Santa Rosa) [link]
After a long delay, District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today that she will not be filing criminal charges against Erick Gelhaus, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy who shot and killed 13-year-old Andy Lopez.
This disheartening decision leaves the family feeling as though Andy had been killed again today. It is impossible to accept Ravitch’s conclusion that Gelhaus shot and killed Andy in response to what he “honestly and reasonably believed was an imminent threat of death to himself or others.” No reasonable officer in such circumstances could believe he was encountering anything but a teenager with a toy gun on a sunny afternoon in a residential area.
Erick Gelhaus’ exaggerated and careless response deserves a truly transparent and impartial evaluation. Ms. Ravitch’s conclusion is a mockery of justice and confirms that her office cannot meaningfully sit in judgement of local law enforcement. This cowardly political decision sends the tacit message that law enforcement officials who use excessive force will not suffer meaningful consequences and, instead, will enjoy immunity from local prosecution.
The family, through their attorney, will petition the U.S. District court for the immediate lifting of the stay of the proceedings as to Erick Gelhaus and thereby allow the civil case to move forward as to him and Sonoma County.
The family will also urge the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Attorney’s office to conduct an impartial investigation as to the shooting and killing of Andy Lopez.
Lastly, for those who share their anguish over this decision, the family asks that the Sonoma County community continue to observe peace.
signed, July 7, 2014, Arnoldo Casillas of Gregory W. Moreno & Associates, 3500 W. Beverly Blvd., Montebello, CA [acasillas@) morenolawoffices.com]