Last week, I – as I do so often –praised an editorial by the Union-Tribune that faulted the District Attorney’s Office for not making it known it had produced a report on a controversial police shooting in National City.
The report was finished three months ago, but the DA didn’t tell anyone.
Dave Cohen, the former public information officer for the city of San Diego’s police department, chimed in with some perspective. He wanted to make it clear he wasn’t speaking for his former employer, but he had something we should keep in mind about this bizarre story:
Shooting reports actually are letters written by the District Attorney or one of her key people to the head of the police agency involved. They outline the facts and indicate whether officers involved are subject to criminal charges or whether they were justified in shooting the suspect(s). During my 18+ years with the San Diego Police Department, it was our position that, if the letter was to be released to the public, it was up to us to do so, not the DA’s office. We always released the letters as soon as the parties involved were notified that the DA’s findings had been received.
So perhaps we shouldn’t wonder why the DA kept it under wraps but…the sheriff?