Two decades before the Rodney King verdict riots, the Eastside erupted over the Vietnam War and other issues. The events of that time still echo in the city. Sheriff Lee Baca has been sued for refusing to release all of the department's files on the 1970 killing by a deputy of Chicano journalist Ruben Salazar. From the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund:
MALDEF filed a petition for writ of mandate to compel Sheriff Lee Baca to release public records relating to the death of Ruben Salazar. Sheriff Baca has refused to release the complete files despite waiving exemption rights when he made the records available for public inspection in March 2011.
Salazar was a Mexican American journalist killed by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy during the national Chicano Moratorium in August 1970. The role of the County and its Sheriff’s department in the death of Salazar has been the subject of public controversy in Los Angeles, in great part as a result of the secrecy surrounding the event. MALDEF’s legal action comes as the Sheriff and County continue to withhold these records, more than forty years after the incident.
The petition was filed on behalf of noted documentary filmmaker Phillip Rodriguez. The writ of mandate seeks access to records referring to Salazar’s death and autopsy, and the ensuing investigation. The documents were initially requested by Rodriguez in 2010. Over the past two years the Sheriff’s Department has justified its refusal of full disclosure by claiming the documents were exempt from public records requests or otherwise subject to limitations on reviewing and copying. However, Baca allowed public inspection of the records – thus waiving exemption rights – then refused to provide copies of the unredacted documents he allowed to be inspected.
I've seen nothing yet from the sheriff's side.
Previously on LA Observed:
End the never-ending mystery of Ruben Salazar's death (Visiting blogger Frank Sotomayor)