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Entire Sean Arlt investigation report released online Santa Cruz police change policy regarding use of force

Michael Todd, Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 24, 2019
ANTA CRUZ Complete investigation reports eight exhibits and 17 sections with witnesses names blotched out by black ink of a deadly police shooting on the Westside in October 2016 appeared publicly on the Santa Cruz Police Department website Thursday to comply with a new state law, Police Chief Andy Mills said. The city of Santa Cruz and Arlts family reached a $1.6 million settlement last year in a suit challenging the use of deadly force. On Oct. 11, 2016, six officers responding to a disturbance at the same address worked to detain Arlt in a patrol vehicle before he underwent a 72-hour psychiatric hold, according to police documents. Oakland attorney Michael Haddad, who represents the Arlt family, disputed police statements about what happened and said Arlt was not walking directly toward an officer when he was shot. The bullet wounds were to his side, Haddad said. I think it was impossible for him to be coming directly at the officer. This year, Senate Bill 1421 was imposed to require public access to documents regarding police misconduct, or use of force cases resulting in injury or death. Mills said posting the investigation report even the autopsy report online is one way to comply with the new law. This was a very, very tragic series of events, Mills said. But this is a huge shift in public policy in California. I think that transparency is healthy. As a result of the settlement in the suit by the Arlt family, the police department altered its policy language in the use of force that used to advise officers to use force in imminent or potential danger. Now, officers are advised that force is justified under immediate danger, Mills said. Haddad said he is working on a case that questions whether policies authorizing uses of force amid imminent danger arent constitutional. Again, the law requires officers to consider alternatives, Haddad said. All the officer had to do was step aside. He didnt have to shoot this poor mentally ill man with a garden rake.

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