SANTA ROSA (KCBS) — On Tuesday, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors discussed several measures in response to the fatal shooting of Andy Lopez. They include the creation of a Community and Law Enforcement Task Force, along with a park to honor the 13-year-old.
Twenty-one people will be appointed to the task force. The panel will recommend a process for an independent citizen’s review of officer-involved shootings.
Sonoma Co. Looks To Improve Ties, Infrastructure With Latino Community In Wake Of Lopez Shooting
The supervisors also agreed to formally look into construction of a park to honor Lopez at the field where he was fatally shot. Board members directed staff to come up with a plan in 60 days to build the park.
Lopez, who was carrying an Airsoft gun that was mistaken for an AK-47, was fatally shot by Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus on October 22nd.
According to Santa Rosa Police investigators, Gelhaus told the boy to drop the gun. The deputy then opened fire as the barrel of the BB gun came up when Lopez turned toward him, investigators said.
A coalition of local groups angry over the shooting called the incident a use of excessive force by police.
The board also directed staff to investigate several other ideas, including training sheriff’s deputies in lethal force, diversity training for sheriff’s personnel and greater ethnic diversity in hiring.
In addition, they are considering equipping sheriff’s deputy’s lapels with cameras and recruiting Latino community members to serve on county commissions.
The county will also look into building infrastructure in the heavily Latino area of southwest Santa Rosa, including libraries, health care, and parks.
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