PCA launches probe into Santa Cruz killings

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 - 06:00

Hours af­ter the fa­tal po­lice shoot­ings of Rochy­on King Ashter­man and his girl­friend Kris­t­ian Ker­ri Ser­ries in San­ta Cruz, the Po­lice Com­plaints Au­thor­i­ty (PCA) launched a probe in­to the mat­ter.

The con­fir­ma­tion came on Mon­day from PCA’s di­rec­tor David West in a tele­phone in­ter­view.


“The PCA is do­ing its in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to the fa­tal shoot­ings,” West said.

It was re­port­ed that Ashter­man and Ser­ries were shot by po­lice of­fi­cers of the Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Re­sponse Team (SORT) along La Canoa Road on Fri­day night.

So far, no wit­ness in Ashter­man and Ser­ries’ killings have ap­proached the PCA to give a state­ment.

The num­ber of “po­lice-re­lat­ed shoot­ings” for this year, West said stood at 24. This fig­ure in­cludes Ashter­man and Ser­ries’ deaths.

In the PCA’s 2016/2017 re­port it stat­ed that there were 59 fa­tal po­lice shoot­ings, while there were 23 non-fa­tal shoot­ings by the po­lice.

West said most of the PCA’s in­ves­ti­ga­tions in­to such shoot­ings are on­go­ing.

“We (PCA) have to mir­ror the po­lice’s file with what we have from our own in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” West said. The PCA al­so has to await the pathol­o­gist’s re­port which al­so takes time.

West said he knows of a 2018 PCA in­ves­ti­ga­tion that in­volved 44 wit­ness­es and state­ments be­ing ten­dered. This mat­ter is cur­rent­ly be­fore the court. Some mat­ters have al­so closed.

West said the biggest chal­lenge faced by the PCA was get­ting wit­ness­es to come for­ward to give ev­i­dence.

He al­so gave an up­date of 14-year-old Nao­mi Nel­son who was killed dur­ing a shoot­ing in­volv­ing po­lice of­fi­cers in Care­nage in May, stat­ing “we are mov­ing for­ward with that in­ves­ti­ga­tion.” Nel­son was among three peo­ple who were killed by po­lice in a shoot­ing in­ci­dent and sparked protest ac­tion by res­i­dents.

West said last month’s killing of Sea Lots res­i­dent Akani “Dole” Adams by of­fi­cers from SORT was al­so pro­gress­ing.

“I be­lieve we’ve had in­for­ma­tion from res­i­dents. I am not di­rect­ly in­volved in that in­ves­ti­ga­tion. I un­der­stood from an in­ves­ti­ga­tor that some­body was com­ing for­ward to give in­for­ma­tion on that mat­ter,” West said.

West ap­pealed to the pub­lic to have con­fi­dence in the PCA as they have been try­ing its best to find the truth be­hind all po­lice-re­lat­ed shoot­ings of civil­ians.

Reporter: Shaliza Hassanali