Press Releases

Today's Rallies in Salinas

Release Date/Time: 5/31/2014 1:21 PM

Incident: Today's Rallies in Salinas

Date: Saturday, 5/31/2014

Time: 2:12 PM

Location: Lincoln and Alisal, Salinas

Release Authorized by: Spencer Critchley, Acting Public Information Officer

Telephone:

Our mission is to protect everyone in Salinas, including their right to demonstrate peacefully, no matter what their opinion about the police or any other subject. We hope all demonstrators will always exercise their rights responsibly, peacefully and with respect for differing opinions.

We're happy to see peaceful, respectful dialogue happening in many parts of the city. We hope it continues to grow, and we will support it however we can.

Seeking Public Donations

Release Date/Time: 5/29/2014 11:35 AM

Incident: Seeking Public Donations

Date: Thursday, 5/29/2014

Time: 12:30 PM

Location: Alvarez High School

To clarify a news story which was broadcast on local television yesterday, the Salinas Police Officers' Association is asking the public's assistance in raising money for the Alvarez High School Sober Grad Night trip.  Recently, $2,000 was stolen from the booster club.  The SPOA will match donations from the public up to $1,000.  People wishing to help can write a check to the SPOA or the Alvarez High Booster Club and drop off at the Salinas Police Department.  Contributions will be tax deductible.

 

Release Authorized by: Commander Henry Gomez

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin Invites US DOJ Conciliation Specialist to City

Release Date/Time: 5/27/2014 4:22 PM

Incident: Police Chief Kelly McMillin Invites US DOJ Conciliation Specialist to City

Date: Tuesday, 5/27/2014

Time: 4:22 PM

Location: Salinas Police Department

Release Authorized by: Spencer Critchley

Telephone: (831) 998-3000

Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin today announced that he has asked the US Department of Justice to send a Conciliation Specialist to Salinas in order to facilitate community dialogue following the recent officer involved shootings.

Chief McMillin made contact with the DOJ's Community Relations Service last Friday, May 23. The Chief announced that he is arranging for Los Angeles-based Conciliation Specialist Marquez Equilibria to come to Salinas next week. The exact dates of the visit are still to be determined.

According to Mr. Equilibria, the Community Relations Service is "a federal conciliatory agency that assists with addressing community conflicts arising from differences of race, color, national origin and working with communities to help prevent and respond to alleged violent hate crimes committed on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or disabilities. We have no law enforcement powers (do not investigate, make arrests, or prosecute). We are impartial, confidential, and free [of charge]."

Mr. Equilibria will keep confidential all information about his discussions with community members. Any information about the discussions that is released will be at the discretion of participants.

Chief McMillin said, "This is going to be a very important conversation, one that will need time and attention, It will be good to have an expert, impartial third party to help with that."

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Carjacking

Release Date/Time: 5/25/2014 11:39 PM

Incident: Carjacking

Report #: 14-051236

Date: Sunday, 5/25/2014

Time: 9:29 PM

Location: 336 East Market Street - El Pollo Loco

The victim was sitting in his car eating his food in the parking lot when the suspect, a Hispanic Male, 25-30, 5-6/150 wearing black clothing, gloves, ski mask and had a black semi-auto handgun approached him on the drivers side. The suspect demanded the victims wallet and ordered him out of his car. The suspect drove off with the victims vehicle; a 2000 4 door Honda beige with yellow Amigo Auto Sales paper plates. The victim was not injured.

Release Authorized by: Commander David Crabill

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Homicide--Shooting

On May 21, 2014 at 9:07 pm officers received a dispatch to the area of Del Monte Ave and Mae Ave regarding a victim of a shooting.  The initial dispatch indicated that there was a shooting victim down in the street after several gunshots were heard.  As officers arrived in the area to render aid to the victim and investigate the shooting, many people who had gathered in the area to protest started to throw bottles, sticks, rocks and bricks at the responding officers and the EMS personnel.  While an officer was conducting CPR on the shooting victim, a bottle hit the officer in the head preventing him from rendering aid to the victim while on scene.  The shooting victim was quickly taken away in an ambulance and to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.   The shooting victim was a local resident of the neighborhood who was standing on the sidewalk in front of his home.  The victim has been identified as Constantino Garcia (23) who had recently moved to Salinas with his wife and child.  At the time of the shooting it was estimated that there were approximately 100 people in the area presumably who witnessed the shooting.   At this time no witnesses have come forward to assist with the investigation.  Those who may have witnessed this incident are urged to contact Detective Zuniga or Detective Gonzalez of the Salinas Police Department Investigations Bureau at (831) 758-7929 or (831) 758-7127.  Those who wish to remain anonymous can call the Salinas Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at 831-775-4222 or the We-Tip-Line at 1-800-78-CRIME.

Introduction of Press Liason

Release Date/Time: 5/22/2014 5:50 PM

Incident:  Introduction of Press Liason

Date: Thursday, 5/22/2014

Time: 5:50 PM

Location:  Salinas Police Department

Spencer Critchley is our news media liaison. He is available to help with all inquiries at:

Phone (mobile):  831-998-3000

Email:   spencer.critchley@ci.salinas.ca.us

Release Authorized by:  Cdr. Dave Shaw

Telephone:  831-758-7271

Press Conference

Release Date/Time: 5/22/2014 5:46 PM

Incident:  Press Conference

Date: Thursday, 5/22/2014

Time: 5:46 PM

Location:  Salinas Police Department

Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin Provides New Information on Officer-Involved Shooting 

Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin today provided new information on the officer-involved shooting that occurred near the corner of Del Monte Avenue and N. Sanborn Road on May 20, 2014. 

Chief McMillin played audio of the 911 call related to the incident, as well as video from a security camera and a cell phone. 

At 12:14 pm on that day, two police officers responded to a 911 call from a woman who said a man was threatening her and trying to break into her house. The Chief identified the man as Carlos Mejia, 44. 

The woman said the man was threatening her with tijeras, which was translated from Spanish as "scissors," although the weapon turned out to be garden shears. The woman said the man, using a vulgarity, told her he wanted to have sex with her and exposed himself. She said he also grabbed her small dog and began choking it. 

The dispatcher advised that both the woman and the man were Spanish speakers, the responding officers called for an additional officer to serve as a translator. 

The officers made contact with Mr. Mejia and repeatedly ordered him in English and in Spanish to halt and drop the weapon. Brandishing the shears, he refused to comply. 

Both officers attempted to subdue him with their Tasers. The first Taser misfired. When the second one was fired, one of its contacts struck a telephone pole, rendering the shot ineffective. 

The officers followed Mr. Mejia, continuing to order him to drop the weapon. As he neared the corner of Del Monte and Sanborn, he planted a foot, turned and lunged at the nearest officer, with the shears raised. 

At that point the officers fired their pistols. Mr. Mejia died at the scene. 

Chief McMillin played unedited versions of the 911 call and the two pieces of video footage, and also took reporters through the videos in zoomed-in and slowed-down modes, in order to make visible additional details of the sequence of events. The audio and video files were made available to reporters.

The Chief described the sequence, noting that he was unable to characterize it due to pending litigation. In general, he said, police officers are trained to use the level of force needed to stop a violent suspect depending on whether or not he is armed, his proximity, whether or not he his attacking and other factors. 

He said he understood the deep concern and anger expressed by some members of the community, based on seeing a view of the shooting from across a street, as shown in the cell phone video. That video has been played on TV, the web and in social media. He said that while he was confident in the thoroughness and impartiality of the police department investigation that has begun, at the same time he wanted to take every measure to ensure trust in the process. 

He announced that there will be three independent reviews of the department's investigation. One will be performed by the Monterey County District Attorney as standard procedure. The second will be done by the FBI, in parallel with the DA's review. The FBI will then forward its review to the Office of Civil Rights at the US Department of Justice, for a third reviews. 

Chief McMillin was joined at the press conference by Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter, City Council Member Gloria de la Rosa and California Assembly member Luis Alejo. The three expressed confidence in the investigation under way and in the potential for communication at upcoming community meetings, while calling on residents to preserve peace and safety.

 

Release Authorized by:   Cdr. Dave Shaw

Telephone:  831-758-7271

MEDIA ADVISORY

Release Date/Time: 5/22/2014 1:15 PM

Incident:  MEDIA ADVISORY

Date: Thursday, 5/22/2014

Time: 1:15 PM

Location:  Salinas Police Department

Live Streaming Approved for May 22 Press Conference

In response to requests from several outlets, we have taken steps to allow for the live streaming of today's press conference by those outlets equipped to do that. The press conference will take place at 3:00 pm PDT in the Briefing Room at the Salinas Police Department, 222 Lincoln Ave, Salinas.

Release Authorized by:  Cdr. Dave Shaw

Telephone:  831-758-7271

Armed Robbery - Business

Release Date/Time: 5/22/2014 2:27 AM

Incident: Armed Robbery - Business

Report #: 14-051087

Date: Wednesday, 5/21/2014

Time: 8:58 PM

Location: Panda Express - 1570 Constitution Blvd

A Hispanic male in his 30's wearing all black with his hood covering his face entered the business with a small black semi-automatic handgun. The suspect demanded money from the clerk.  An undetermined amount of money was obtained.  The suspect tried to go out the back door but it was locked. He left through the side and fled on foot either North or South on Constitution Blvd.  The investigation is continuing.

Release Authorized by: Commander David Crabill

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Inciting a Riot, Resisting Arrest, and Probation Violation

Release Date/Time: 5/22/2014 1:18 AM

Incident: Inciting a Riot, Resisting Arrest, and Probation Violation

Report #: 14051089

Date: Wednesday, 5/21/2014

Time: 11:00 PM

Location: Del Monte Avenue / Mae Avenue

Diego Garcia (26) was in a crowd of demonstrators near the shooting scene at Del Monte Avenue and Mae Avenue. He taunted Officers, antagonized a Police K9, and moved through the crowd gathering followers. He was seen looking back into the crowd several times and encouraging others to join him. Garcia eventually approached a group of officers and began challenging them while taking a fighting stance. A Seaside Police Officer who responded to the scene to assist, took him into custody with assistance from Salinas Officers. He was lodged at the Monterey County Jail for inciting a riot, resisting arrest, and probation violation.

Release Authorized by: James Godwin

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

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