SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Following the recent decision by Solano District Attorney Krishna Abrams to withdraw her office from being followed up on the two recent police shootings in Vallejo, KPIX5 asked to interview the D.A. multiple times.
On Friday, July 31, Paul Sequeira, the deputy district attorney, approved the application. He said his boss was sick, so he would do the interview.
Abrams announced last week that it had appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the police's shooting of Willie McCoy. The special prosecutor is Michael Ramos, the former District Attorney of San Bernardino County.
Sequeira said Ramos would immediately start investigating the McCoy shootout. However, it is not clear whether he would continue the case against a police officer and pursue him if he were ever brought to trial. Ramos was not asked to be the special prosecutor for the other denial, the shooting of Sean Monterrosa by the Vallejo police. This initial investigation has not yet been completed, said Sequeira.
You can find a transcript of the interview below:
KPIX5: Why him?
SEQUEIRA: You are talking about someone who has been a prosecutor for 29 years and has a broad background. He lost an election and is now an advisor. He is not connected to our office, nobody in this area. San Bernardino County, so there is no connection. We thought that would be someone who can give an independent and fair assessment.
KPIX5: So we googled Mr. Ramos. It was not long before a judge found that he had not properly deleted text messages in a civil suit.
48 hours with our network, CBS News, wrote a long piece about him and the Kevin Cooper case. Cooper is on death row from San Quentins. It looks like there is a growing mountain of evidence showing Cooper could be innocent.
SEQUEIRA: There will always be controversial decisions and controversial cases. If you try to find someone who has had no controversy or with whom some disagree, you will not find anyone.
KPIX5: However, the improper deletion of emails, as a judge has just found, is not just a controversy that someone disagreed with in ruling a case.
SEQUEIRA: Right, that's a civil lawsuit. I don't know the circumstances … We don't know the surrounding facts of this case. But I think it's completely different and beyond the fact that he has looked at thousands of cases in his career and had to make difficult decisions.
KPIX5: Dozens of police officers have been shot in the past ten years. And I think it makes sense – we saw demonstrators out there in June demanding that your office look more thorough and that law enforcement action against police officers be initiated. Has your office failed in this regard?
SEQUEIRA: No, I do not think so. You know, Joe, that's an interesting question you're asking. Should we look deeper? We look deeply into every officer – every loss of life … We look deeply into every officer involved in shooting. I don't think we could take a closer look at them. I understand the public and how they have lost confidence and there have been many shootings and many controversial shootings. That is why we are in the position we are in today.
KPIX5: If they have lost confidence, why doesn't the prosecutor just step down? If they can't trust you to prosecute, why go to a prosecutor?
SEQUEIRA: No, we will always meet our obligation to objectively review cases. This does not require resignation. Uh, we didn't shoot anyone … we only monitor the cases that come to us –
KPIX5: It is the district attorney's duty to pursue these cases. You want to forward it to the Attorney General and now to the Special Prosecutor. So yes, you didn't commit the police shootings, but the prosecutor decided not to do what the public entrusted her to do.
SEQUEIRA: Well, you put us in a catch-22 a bit here. They say we have a commitment because the public can trust us, but the public demands that we have an independent review so that we can listen to the public. Listened. We want to restore public confidence in our local criminal justice community so that we can listen to the protests and people and politicians who said we want an independent review.