Press Releases

Armed Robbery

Release Date/Time: 9/15/2014 4:56 PM

Incident: Robbery

Date: Monday, 9/15/2014

Time: 4:56 PM

Location: 108 Williams Road

Three Hispanic male suspects entered the business.  Suspect #1; early 20's, green shirt with a yellow skull picture on the front and camo pants, #2; white hat, white long sleeve button up shirt, large belt buckle, gray pants, carrying a black semi-auto handgun, #3; 30's, black jacket, black SF hat, black Jordan shoes and blue jeans. Suspect #1 distracted the clerk while suspect  #2 walked around the register to the clerk.  Suspect #2 brandished the handgun and demanded money from the clerk.  Suspect #3 acted as the lookout. Undetermined amount of cash was taken.  The suspects fled the area on foot in an unknown direction.  The Salinas Police Department is asking for the communities assistance in identifyinig the suspects.  Anyone recognizing the suspects is asked to contact the Salinas Police Department at 831-758-7321 or the tip-line at 831-775-4222 or We-Tip at 1-800-76-CRIME.

Release Authorized by: Crd. Dave Shaw

Telephone: 831-758-7271

Attempted Murder/Shooting

Release Date/Time: 9/14/2014 12:58 AM

Incident: Attempted Murder/Shooting

Report #: 14-090712

Date: Saturday, 9/13/2014

Time: 11:15 PM

Location: Curtis and Rodeo

A 23 year old male was walking in the area of Curtis and Rodeo when a vehicle, occupied by 2 or 3, drove up. One of the occupants shot multiple times, then drove away. The victim was transported by private vehicle to a local hospital for treatment from a non-life threatening gunshot wound.  This is believed to be gang related.

Release Authorized by: Sergeant Danny Warner

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Frequently Asked Questions: Officer Involved Shootings in Salinas

First posted May 25, 2014. Updated Sept 5, 2014, 5:15 PM. (Español)

There have been four officer-involved shootings so far this year in Salinas, when the average is one per year. Many people have questions about the shootings, and we'll do our best to answer them here based on what we know so far. Please note that while the investigations go on, we can't speculate about conclusions, but we can offer information based on the evidence we have and based on police policies.

We'll be adding and updating questions and answers frequently, so please check back if you don't see what you're looking for yet, or if you have a suggestion, please contact us.

All of the people shot by police this year were Latinos. Are the police targeting Latinos?

Absolutely not. But we understand and acknowledge the emotions behind that question.

The Salinas Police Department has long followed strict policies against any form of social injustice. But as a community, Salinas, like much of America, has a painful history of discrimination against minorities. In our case it has often been Latinos who have suffered.

As a community we are still healing from that history – the process is not over.

But it is a fundamental principle for the Salinas Police Department that everyone, no matter what their background, must be treated with fairness and respect. Any police officer who violates this principle faces the strictest sanctions. If you're wondering why you should believe that, please see "Why should I believe you?" below.

Why have so many people been shot by police?

The four shootings by police officers this year are very unusual – in recent years the average for Salinas is one officer-involved shooting per year -- out of thousands of arrests and tens of thousands of contacts.

All the shootings are being very thoroughly investigated. When things happen in a cluster like this, it often looks like they must be connected – as in, "suddenly the police are shooting more people." But random clusters of events are common, and there is no evidence these shootings are connected.

If the shootings aren't connected, why did they all involve Latinos?

In Salinas, 77% of the population is Latino. That means that, all other things being equal, nearly 8 out of 10 of the small number of people who commit violent crimes would probably be Latino -- just because nearly 8 out of 10 people who do everything in Salinas are Latino. That includes all the good things, which are far more common.

In reality, more than 9 out 10 of the small number of people who commit violent crimes are Latino -- but not because they're Latino, of course. Mountains of research show that violent crime is more likely in underserved neighborhoods, meaning neighborhoods that suffer from poverty, lack of services and lack of opportunity. In Salinas, those neighborhoods are much more likely to be Latino. In other areas, it's other groups who live in underserved neighborhoods, and those neighborhoods also have higher crime rates.

In short, what we see in Salinas is that when police have contact with a violent person, that person is likely to be Latino, but that's because (a) everyone is likely to be Latino, and (b) violent crime is more common in underserved neighborhoods.

Why did Salinas Police ask the Monterey County District Attorney to handle the investigation of the July 10, 2014 officer-involved shooting of Frank Alvarado?

To get the best answers as fast as possible. Normally, the police department investigates officer-involved shootings and then the DA’s office reviews the investigation. But the police are occupied with other investigations, and this is the busiest time of the year. So to avoid delay, Chief Kelly McMillin asked the DA to take over this investigation from the start.

Why did the police officers shoot Frank Alvarado?

District Attorney Dean Flippo gave a press conference about the shooting the day after it happened and will continue to share information. Only the DA’s office can do that, because it’s their investigation. You can find widespread coverage in the local media, for example in this article from the Monterey Herald.

I read a story that says the Salinas police are guilty of "murders of innocent people" who were unarmed - what do you say to that?

A widely-shared story from AntiMedia.org radically re-interprets a responsibly reported story from ktvu.org. We hope you'll read our corrections, and compare the AntiMedia story to the ktvu.org story they re-interpreted. And if you've shared the AntiMedia story, we hope you'll share the corrections.

Why did the police shoot Carlos Mejia (the man with the shears seen in a cell phone video) when he was walking away from them?

They didn't. When you slow down and zoom in on the cell phone video, you see that the officers did not shoot Mr. Mejia when he was walking away, they shot him when he turned and attacked them with the shears. More context is added by a surveillance camera video as well as by a 911 call from a woman who said Mr. Mejia was trying to break into her house and assault her.

Police Chief Kelly McMillin took reporters through the videos and audio at a press conference on May 22, 2014.

  • See KSBW-TV's analysis of the cell phone video here.

Why didn't the police Tase Mr. Mejia?

They tried to, twice. The first officer fired his Taser, but it malfunctioned. Then the second officer fired his, but one of its contacts struck a telephone pole, which prevented it from having any effect.

Why didn't they shoot him in the arm or leg?

Although you see that happen on TV and in the movies, that's not what police are trained to do. When an armed person attacks, their first priority is to stop the threat to public safety as fast as possible. There are many cases of civilians and police being seriously injured or killed by armed, violent people who have been wounded. So police are trained to use enough force to stop the threat immediately.

Why did they shoot him more than once?

Once someone attacks, police are trained to stop the threat, both to themselves and members of the public. We can't at this point know exactly what the officers' judgment was, but it's common for police to shoot multiple times to stop a threat.

Why did they get close enough for him to attack them?

To stop a violent person with a weapon, police have to gain physical control of him, typically by putting him in handcuffs. They start by ordering the person to drop the weapon and surrender, and then need to get control of the person as soon as possible so they can prevent harm to members of the public.

Why did the police leave Mr. Mejia's body uncovered?

Police never cover a body before investigators arrive, because doing that would contaminate evidence. Instead, out of respect for the dead and in consideratiion of onlookers, they put up a visual barrier. That's what the police did in this case.

What is the police department's policy on use of force?

Please click here for a PDF of our use of force policy document.

Why did the police put up security cameras near the scene of the Mejia shooting?

Witnesses of the incident have reported they've been threatened and intimidated. The cameras are there temporarily to help with the investigation of the threats and intimidation and to help protect the witnesses.

Why have the cameras been taken down?

Two of them had stopped working (this is not uncommon -- we only have a few, and they're quite old), and the third was needed elsewhere.

Why should I believe you?

We expect to be held accountable by our actions, not just our words. Here are some of our actions:

After the recent shootings

  • We know that some people don't trust "cops investigating cops." We think if they could see how strict, thorough and impartial the internal investigations are, they'd change their minds. But because of the level of concern right now, Chief McMillin has asked for a total of three independent reviews of the police department's investigations. In addition to the standard review by the Monterey County District Attorney, Chief McMillin has asked for an additional review by the FBI and a third one by the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice.

Other actions

  • The Salinas Police and the City of Salinas are recognized nationally as leaders in reducing crime through a community-based strategy of prevention, intervention and re-entry services, working to reduce the need for enforcement. Salinas was invited to be a founding member of the President's National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, which is focused on community-based solutions to crime and on the recognition that "you can't arrest your way out of the problem."
  • Salinas is the leading agency in the Community Alliance for Safety and Peace, (CASP) which brings together community groups, social services, the faith community, local governments and law enforcement around the Prevention-Intervention-Enforcement-Re-entry (PIER) strategy. Even though Salinas is facing severe budget shortages, it dedicates a full-time staff member to serve as the manager of CASP and give it every possible support. The Police Department is also facing shortages, and is seriously under-staffed, but it has assigned two full-time "CASP officers" to the Hebbron Heights neighborhood of the Alisal. These officers, who have been recognized nationally for their work, make very few arrests, devoting almost all of their time to assisting members of the community and building connections among families, neighborhoods, community groups and service providers.
  • Chief McMillin has committed the police department to the legitimacy and procedural justice model of policing, which holds that true authority comes not from the use or fear of force but from the trust of the community. According to a recent KSBW-TV story: "The method recognizes that people want to feel heard, feel respected and want to know their police are neutral and trustworthy." The Salinas Police Department is the first on the West Coast to train all officers in legitimacy and procedural justice.
  • The Salinas Police Department is among the pioneers in using the Operation Ceasefire strategy, which has led to dramatic reductions in violence in cities across the country while improving relationships between police and the communities they serve. Operation Ceasefire's originator, David Kennedy, mentions the Salinas Police in his ground-breaking book Don't Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America.
  • Chief McMillin was recognized by the White House in 2012 as a Champion of Change. The recognition was for his work to prevent youth violence within the community through Operation Ceasefire and the CASP strategy.

Annoy/Molest Children arrest

Yesterday, 9-1-14, an 8 year old boy was in a bathroom at Northridge Mall when a male, wearing dark clothing with a Batman logo on it, attempted to lure him into a bathroom stall.  Northridge Mall was able to obtain video of the suspect and still photos were later released to the media.  A Monterey County Probation Officer recognized the subject as Kevin Rodney Gray (34) and called salinas Police with the information.  Detectives were unsucessful in locating Gray throughout the day and other citizen tips came in identifying Gray as the suspect from the Mall incident.  At approxiamtely 1745 hrs, Gray arrived at the Police Department stating he knew police were wanting to talk to him.  Gray was taken into custody and later lodged into MoCo jail for Annoying or molesting children and violation of probation.  Gray is curently on probation for a similar offense involving chidren and is a registered sex offender.

Annoy/ Molest a Child

Release Date/Time: 9/2/2014 11:37 AM

Incident:  Annoy/ Molest a Child

Date: Monday, 9/1/2014

Time: 7:42 PM

Location:  796 N. Main Street (Northridge Mall)

On September 1, 2014 an 8 year old child eneterd a public restroom at Northridge Mall.  When he entered he was contacted by the pictured male suspect who was standing in one of the stalls with the door open.  The suspect engaged the child in conversation about the child's age.  The suspect then attempted to lure the child into the stall with him.  The child became scared and ran out of the restroom to contact his mother who was waiting just outside.  The child relayed what had happened and the mother confronted the supect as he exited the restroom.  The suspect fled before security could be notified.  In reviewing security camera footage the suspect was last seen crossing N. Main in an easterly direction.  The child was not touched or injured.

The suspect is described as a white or light complected hispanic male adult, approximately 25 years old, 6'1", 200 lbs., with blonde hair and unknown colored eyes.  He was wearing a black and yellow hoodie with a Batman logo on it, a black t-shirt with a yellow Batman logo on the front, black shorts, white socks and black shoes.  He has both ears pierced with Batman earrings or plugs and was wearing tinted glasses.

The Salinas Police Department is working closely with Northridge Security to determine the suspect's movements at the mall.  The Department is asking for the public's assistance in identifying the suspect.  Anyone recognizing the suspect is asked to cotnact Detective Kristine Fairbanks at 831-758-7322 or the tip-line at 831-775-4222 or We-Tip at 1-800-78-CRIME. 

Release Authorized by:  Crd. Dave Shaw

Telephone:  831-758-7271

DUI, Hit and Run, Threats to a Peace Officer

Release Date/Time: 9/1/2014 8:56 AM

Incident: DUI, Hit and Run, Threats to a Peace Officer

Report #: 14-081518

Date: Sunday, 8/31/2014

Time: 11:49 PM

Location: Independence Blvd / Nantucket Blvd

Omar Munoz (25) was driving his '87 Chevy pick-up Northbound on Independence Blvd at a high rate of speed. Munoz ran the stop sign at the intersection of Nantucket Blvd as the driver of a 2014 Chevy Silverado began to enter the intersection from Nantucket. The victim driver was able to stop before being broadsided but Munoz clipped the front end of the victim vehicle, which caused Munoz to lose control of his truck. Munoz's truck rolled over and then struck two trees before stopping. The truck was totaled. Witnesses saw Munoz run from his truck and flee along the creek bed nearby. Officers located Munoz at a relative's home in the 700 block of Danbury St. He had superficial injuries from the collision and was covered in mud from running in the creek. Munoz became extremely violent when officers tried to arrest him. A protracted physical altercation occurred before Munoz was restrained. Munoz was not injured as a result of the arrest but one officer did sustain abrasions from being thrown into a weight-lifting set. Munoz was taken to Natividad Medical Center for a blood draw and medical clearance prior to being booked into the Monterey County Jail. He was charged with DUI, misdemeanor Hit and Run and threatening a police officer.

Release Authorized by: Sheldon Bryan

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Preguntas Más Frecuentes: Recientes Tiroteos en Salinas

Actualizado el 11 de julio. 2014, 8:22 am. (For English version, click here.)

Ha habido cuatro tiroteos con intervención policial en lo que va de año en Salinas, cuando el promedio es de uno por año. Muchas personas tienen preguntas acerca de los tiroteos, y haremos nuestro mejor esfuerzo para responder aquí basándonos en lo que sabemos hasta ahora. Tenga en cuenta que mientras la investigación continúa, no podemos especular sobre las conclusiones, pero podemos ofrecer información basada en la evidencia que tenemos y en base a las políticas policiales.

Estaremos agregando y actualizando las preguntas y respuestas frecuentes, por favor vuelva si no encuentra lo que está buscando todavía, o si tiene alguna sugerencia, por favor póngase en contacto con nosotros.

Las personas que la policía disparó este año eran latinos. ¿Está la policía apuntando a los latinos?

Por supuesto que no. Pero entendemos y reconocemos las emociones detrás de esta pregunta.

El Departamento de Policía de Salinas ha seguido siempre las políticas estrictas contra cualquier forma de injusticia social. Pero como comunidad, Salinas, al igual que gran parte de América, tiene una historia dolorosa de la discriminación contra las minorías. En nuestro caso, han sido a menudo los latinos los que han sufrido.

Como una comunidad todavía estamos recuperándonos de esa historia; y el proceso no ha terminado.

Pero es un principio fundamental para el Departamento de Policía de Salinas que todos, sin importar de su origen, deben ser tratados con justicia y respeto. Cualquier oficial de policía que viole este principio se enfrenta a las sanciones más estrictas. Si te está preguntando por qué usted debe creer que, por favor, consulte la sección "¿Por qué se debería creerle?" a continuación.

¿Por qué tantas personas han sido disparadas por la policía?

Los tres disparos de agentes de la policía este año son muy inusual - en los últimos años el promedio de Salinas es de un tiro por oficial por año.

Los tres disparos se están investigando muy a fondo. Cuando las cosas suceden en un grupo como éste, a menudo parece que deben estar conectados; como en, "de repente la policía está disparando a más personas." Pero las agrupaciones aleatorias de eventos son comunes, y no hay evidencia de que estos tiroteos estén conectados.

Si los disparos no están conectados, ¿Por qué todos implican los latinos?

En Salinas, 77% de la población es latino. Eso significa que, siendo todo lo demás igual, casi 8 de cada 10 de la pequeña cantidad de personas que cometen delitos violentos, probablemente habría Latino - sólo porque casi 8 de cada 10 personas que lo hacen todo en Salinas son latinos. Eso incluye todas las cosas buenas, que son mucho más comunes.

En realidad, más de 9 de 10 de la pequeña cantidad de personas que cometen delitos violentos son latinos - pero no porque sean latinos, por supuesto. Montañas de investigaciones muestran que el crimen violento es más probable en los barrios marginados, es decir, barrios que sufren de pobreza, falta de servicios y falta de oportunidades. En Salinas, esos barrios tienen muchas más probabilidades de ser latinos. En otras áreas, hay otros grupos que viven en barrios marginados, y esos barrios también tienen mayores estadísticas de delincuencia.

En pocas palabras, lo que vemos en Salinas es que cuando la policía tiene contacto con una persona violenta, es probable que esa persona sea latino, pero eso es debido a que (a) la mayoría de la población es latino, y (b) el crimen violento es más común en barrios desatentados.

¿Por qué la policía dispara Carlos Mejía (el hombre con las tijeras visto en un video de teléfono celular) cuando él se alejaba de ellos?

Ellos no lo hicieron. Al reducir la velocidad y zoom en el vídeo del teléfono celular, se ve que los oficiales no le disparó al Sr. Mejía cuando él se alejaba, le dispararon cuando se volvió y les atacó con las tijeras. Más contexto se añade por una cámara de video vigilancia, así como por una llamada al 911 de una mujer que dijo el señor Mejía estaba tratando de entrar en su casa y su asalto.

El jefe de policía Kelly McMillin llevó a los periodistas a través de los videos y de audio en una conferencia de prensa el 22 de mayo de 2014 (Inglés):

¿Por qué no lo hizo la policía Tase a Sr. Mejia?

Lo hicieron. El primer oficial disparó su pistola Taser, pero no funcionó. A continuación, el segundo oficial disparó, pero uno de sus contactos golpeó un poste de teléfono, lo que impidió que surtiera efecto.

¿Por qué no le dispararon en el brazo o en la pierna?

Aunque se ve que eso suceda en la televisión y en las películas, eso no es lo que la policía está entrenada a hacer. Cuando una persona ataca armada, su primera prioridad es detener la amenaza a la seguridad pública lo más rápido posible, y eso es lo que están capacitados a hacer. Hay muchos casos de civiles y policías gravemente heridos o muertos por personas armadas y violentas que han sido heridos. Así que la policía está entrenada para usar la fuerza suficiente para detener la amenaza de inmediato.

¿Por qué le disparan más de una vez?

Una vez que alguien ataca, la policía está entrenada para detener la amenaza, tanto para ellos como a los miembros del público. No podemos en este momento saber exactamente lo que fue el juicio de los oficiales, pero es común en la policía de disparar varias veces para detener una amenaza.

¿Por qué se acercan lo suficiente para que él los ataque?

Para detener a una persona violenta con un arma, la policía tiene que hacerse con el control físico de él, por lo general al ponerlo con las manos esposadas. Comienzan por pedirle a que deje caer el arma y le entrega, la necesidad de obtener el control de la persona tan pronto como sea posible para que puedan prevenir el daño a los miembros del público.

¿Por qué losnpolicías dejaron el cuerpo del Sr. Mejía descubierta?

La policía nunca cubren un cuerpo antes de que lleguen los investigadores, porque haciendo eso contaminaría evidencia. En su lugar, por respeto a los muertos y en la consideración de los espectadores, que ponenuna barrera visual. Eso es lo que la policía no hizo en este caso.

¿Cuál es la póliza del departamento de policía en el uso de fuerza?

Por favor, haga clic aquí para obtener un PDF del documento de póliza de nuestro uso de fuerza. (Inglés).

¿Por qué los policías colocaron cámaras de seguridad cerca de la escena del tiroteo del Sr. Mejia?

Los testigos del incidente han informado de que han sido amenazados y intimidados. Las cámaras están allí temporalmente para ayudar con la investigación de las amenazas y la intimidación y para ayudar a proteger a los testigos.

¿Por qué debería creerle?

 Estamos dispuestos a asumir la responsabilidad por nuestras acciones, no sólo nuestras palabras. Estas son algunas de nuestras acciones:

Después de los tiroteos recientes

  • Sabemos que algunas personas no confían en "policías investigando a policías." Creemos que si pudieran ver cómo; estrictas, exhaustivas e imparciales las investigaciones internas son, tendrían cambian de opinión. Pero debido al nivel de preocupación en este momento, el jefe McMillin ha pedido un total de tres revisiones independientes de investigaciones del departamento de policía. Además de la revisión estándar por el Fiscal de Distrito del Condado de Monterey, el jefe McMillin ha pedido una revisión adicional por parte del FBI y un tercero por la División de Derechos Civiles del Departamento de Justicia de EE.UU.

Otras acciones

  • La Policía de Salinas y la Ciudad de Salinas son reconocidos a nivel nacional como líder en la reducción de la delincuencia a través de una estrategia basada en la comunidad de los servicios de prevención, intervención y re-entrada, que trabaja para reducir la necesidad de una aplicación. Salinas fue invitado a ser miembro fundador del Foro Nacional del Presidente sobre la Prevención de la Violencia Juvenil, que se centra en las soluciones basadas en la comunidad con el crimen y en el reconocimiento de que "no se puede detener a su manera de salir del problema."
  • Salinas es la agencia líder en la Alianza Comunitaria para la Seguridad y la Paz, (CASP), que reúne a grupos de la comunidad, los servicios sociales, la comunidad de fe, gobiernos locales y las fuerzas del orden en torno a la prevención-intervención-Ejecución-Re-entra (PIER) estrategia. A pesar de que Salinas se enfrenta a la escasez de presupuesto severo, dedica un miembro del personal de tiempo completo para servir como el director del CASP y darle todo el apoyo posible. El Departamento de Policía también se enfrenta a la escasez, y es muy insuficientemente atendido, pero se ha asignado dos de tiempo completo "oficiales CASP" al barrio Hebbron Heights del Alisal. Estos funcionarios, que han sido reconocidos a nivel nacional por su trabajo, hacen muy pocos arrestos, dedicando casi todo su tiempo a ayudar a los miembros de las conexiones de la comunidad y de la construcción entre las familias, barrios, grupos comunitarios y proveedores de servicios.
  • El jefe McMillin ha comprometido al departamento de policía a ser un modelo de legitimidad y justicia de procedimiento de la policía, que sostiene que la verdadera autoridad no proviene de la utilización o el miedo de la fuerza sino de la confianza de la comunidad. De acuerdo con una reciente historia KSBW-TV: "El método reconoce que la gente quiere sentirse escuchada, respetada y quiere saber que sus policías son neutrales y de confianza." El Departamento de Policía de Salinas es el primero en la costa oeste para formar a todos los funcionarios de la legitimidad y la justicia procesal.
  • El Departamento de Policía de Salinas es uno de los pioneros en el uso de la estrategia de Operación Cese al Fuego, que ha llevado a una reducción drástica de la violencia en ciudades de todo el país, mientras he mejorado de las relaciones entre la policía y las comunidades que sirven. El fundador de la Operación Alto el fuego, Sr. David Kennedy, menciona la Policía de Salinas en su libro pionero No Tire: Un Solo Hombre, Una Calle Fraternal, y el Fin de la Violencia en Inner-City América.
  •  El jefe McMillin fue reconocido por la Casa Blanca en 2012 como un Campeón del Cambio. El reconocimiento fue por su trabajo para prevenir la violencia juvenil dentro de la comunidad a través de Operación Alto el Fuego y la estrategia CASP.

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