The city of Inglewood is going out of its way to keep Inglewood residents in the dark of what took place on February 21, 2016. In the early morning, before many of us awakened, Kisha Michael and Marquintin Sandlin were lying dead on Manchester Blvd. Five Inglewood Police Officers lost their jobs in relation to the shooting. During the last city council meeting, Mayor James Butts and city council authorized destruction of internal affairs documents related to the investigation and a revised police records retention policy.
On December 9th, two days prior to the last regular city council meeting of 2018, 2UrbanGirls analyzed the council agenda and discovered that many department heads were failing to sign their staff reports. Parking and Police were most prominent. Instead of City Manager Artie Fields placing his “John Hancock” on the line designated for him, his Deputy Yakema Decatur was charged with that task. 2UrbanGirls questioned why Decatur is signing Police Department staff reports authorizing the destruction of “specific internal affairs records” that include Use of Force Supervisory Review files.
The dates requesting to be destroyed include files related to the investigation of the Michael/Sandlin murders. The city has once again taken extraordinary steps to keep the public in the dark.
The city has failed to upload the December 11th council meeting video to their YouTube channel, as they do for every other meeting and/or event Thomas Bunn is required to record and the “live” feed on the city’s Facebook page mysteriously begins AFTER all of the votes takes place. The meeting time shows the video recording is 1 hour and 32 minutes long but the actual meeting content is only 1 hour. You can only view Mayor Butts being sworn in for his third term, a handful of public comments and the councils closing remarks. The remaining 32 minutes is a place holder of an image saying “Happy Holidays”. 2UrbanGirls had to call the City Clerk’s office to confirm all agenda items passed unanimously.
The city’s Citizen Police Oversight Commission has NOT met at ANY time for the year 2018, however, the Commission’s Chair Lee Denmon and Vice-Chair Jim Vaughn are regular fixtures at city council meetings. Vaughn takes the time to comment at EVERY council meeting and not once mentioning the commission he sits on not being able to meet.
Will the public EVER know what happened that fateful night of February 21, 2016? Or will the Mayor ensure every document related to it be destroyed? WHEN will our $300k+ City Manager Artie Fields start back signing documents calling for his signature OR has Yakema Decatur become our de facto City Manager? Stay tuned. These questions and many more could be answered in 2019.
It appears the city is trying to avoid complying with SB-1421 which requires release of police personnel records related to use of force causing death or great bodily injury under the CA Public Records Act. This is most likely a campaign promise made with the Inglewood Police Officers to ensure their support of Mayor Butts’ re-election. Read the full language of the bill here.