CORONA (CBSLA) — The off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer who said he fired his gun in self-defense in a June shooting at a Corona Costco that killed one man and seriously injured his parents is described as a suspect in court documents obtained by CBS2.
The June 14 shooting left a mentally disabled man dead and his parents in critical condition. Seven weeks after investigators said an off-duty LAPD officer shot them, LAPD has revealed that a Riverside County Superior Judge recently ordered law enforcement not to release the video evidence to the public for one year from the date of the shooting. The court order further stated that the video may be released at the conclusion of the criminal investigation if no charges were filed or at the conclusion of the prosecution if a criminal case was filed.
The court order supersedes LAPD policy on releasing footage.
"LAPD's video release policy requires the department to release relevant video footage from all officer involved shootings, significant uses of force and in-custody deaths within 45 days of an incident," Josh Rubenstein, LAPD spokesperson said in a video statement.
Rubenstein said that since Officer Salvador Sanchez was off-duty and outside of the jurisdiction of the LAPD, the department will only be conducting an administrative investigation, which will not measure the tactics he used but will measure his use of deadly force.
"The board will evaluate the evidence to determine whether the officer's drawing and exhibiting of a weapon and use of deadly force in this instance met the high standards of all LAPD officers," Rubenstein said.
The Riverside County District Attorney's Office said it sought the court order because it didn't want to taint the recollection of witnesses as to what happened that day by making the video public.
"I don't think releasing the video to the public is going to really help anybody other than satisfying people's curiosity," David Winslow, Sanchez's attorney said.
Winslow said he hasn't seen the video, but that it should show Sanchez was knocked unconscious while holding his young child and had no other option but to shoot and kill Kenneth French.
But members of the French family think the video will show the opposite and that the officer had plenty of other options — they say the court order gave them hope.
"The court finds that due to the graphic nature of the video and the significant public attention on the shooting, the release of the video prior to the conclusion of the criminal investigation reasonably could result in harm to the suspect, who is out of custody, and could interfere with the integrity of the jury trial process in any potential subsequent prosecution," the court order stated.
The French family said that was the first time they had heard Sanchez referred to as a suspect.
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