Mistakes were made by deputies at the East Los Angeles riot in 1970 at which newsman Ruben Salazar was killed, but there's no surviving evidence that Salazar was targeted, says a report by the sheriff department's Office of Independent Review. It's the first outside scrutiny of the investigation files, prompted by questions from the Salazar family and L.A. Times reporters. Sheriff Lee Baca said last year he would let the OIR go through the files after his people did first. That's what happened, apparently, and now Baca says he'll let academics and journalists view the files under supervision. The OIR report will be released formally later today.
Frank O. Sotomayor, a former L.A. Times editor who wrote about the case for LA Observed in August, said Monday: "I applaud Sheriff Baca's decision. Now for the historical record, the public deserves unedited access to files on Salazar held by the District Attorney's Office, the LAPD, the FBI and other federal agencies, including the U.S. Attorne's Office in L.A. The DA never took action in court following the killing; LAPD Chief Ed Davis had complained vigorously about Salazar's work; the FBI has only released heavily censored files on Salazar; the Federal Attorney's Office never released results of its investigation into the matter."
* Sotomayor amends: After assessing the conditions that Sheriff Baca will place on access to the Salazar files, Sotomayor says: "Sheriff Baca's plan is overly restrictive. In my view, not allowing copies to be made of the files and recordings doesn't comply with requirements of the Public Records Act. I hope that a process can be arranged for true transparency."