SOUTH PASADENA (CNS) – An attorney for a man killed by deputies during a traffic stop in unincorporated Willowbrook alleged today that sheriff’s investigators were trying to intimidate witnesses in the case and requested an FBI probe, a claim denied by a sheriff’s department official.
Attorney Luis Carrillo said sheriff’s investigators tried to get one of two potential eyewitnesses to change her testimony about whether Jose De La Trinidad put his hands behind his head as ordered by deputies, or reached for a weapon.
Deputies did not find a weapon after the shooting.
Carrillo released a letter to the FBI in which he claims that sheriff’s department investigators are obstructing justice.
“I request an FBI investigation into the circumstances of the killing of Jose De La Trinidad; and also an investigation into the efforts of the Sheriff’s Department to ‘slant evidence’ and pressure witnesses. These efforts of sheriff’s investigators appear to be an obstruction of justice.”
Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore denied the claim.
“What’s interesting is we haven’t interviewed anybody … we have nothing to hide,” Whitmore told KCAL.
KCAL reported that the driver, Jose’s brother Francisco, was out on parole, and that family members said the brothers had been at a family function and that Jose went with his sibling to make sure he got home safely.
“All I know is we were leaving a family function. He never made it home, and the next day I learned on the news that he had been gunned down by police,” Jose’s wife Rosie De La Trinidad said.
Carrillo said he was not contemplating filing a lawsuit and was most interested in getting the FBI to investigate the case. He said the family is trying to raise money to bury Jose De La Trinidad, who had no criminal record.
The fatal shooting occurred at 10:25 p.m. on Nov. 10 when Jose De La Trinidad jumped out of a car during an attempted traffic stop.
At the time, Deputy Don Walker of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said “the suspect in the passenger seat quickly exited the vehicle and raised his arm from his waistband. Fearing that the suspect had a weapon, two deputies fired their deputy weapon, striking the suspect.”
De La Trinidad died at the scene.
Francisco De La Trinidad crashed the car at El Segundo and Avalon boulevards, ran and was quickly caught.
(No Ratings Yet)