Updated: Oct 26, 2022
To: Sonoma County Board of Supervisors –
We call on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to enforce Measure P and allow IOLERO to begin its independent investigation of David Pelaez Chavez’ death immediately.
Almost two-thirds of Sonoma County voters supported Measure P in 2020 to bring greater transparency and accountability to the Sheriff’s Office. Measure P survived a court challenge by Sheriff's unions but our Board of Supervisors bargained away critical provisions of Measure P anyway.
One of those provisions would have allowed the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOLERO), our sheriff watchdog agency, to initiate an investigation any time a person dies in custody or as a result of a shooting or other action by a sheriff’s employee.
If Measure P was in effect, IOLERO would currently be investigating the death of David Pelaez Chavez, who was killed by a deputy sheriff on June 29 from 10-15 feet away. When he was shot, the body-camera video showed Mr. Chavez was bent to the ground, likely exhausted from a 45-minute chase. He had in his hands gardening tools and a rock.
The Board of Supervisors misreads Measure P. Nothing in Measure P requires IOLERO to delay its investigation of a deputy-involved death until after the District Attorney and Sheriff’s Office complete their investigation.
The Board of Supervisors must allow IOLERO to begin its independent investigation now. Every moment is vital to an effective investigation. Without investigative oversight, there will be no justice.