We, the undersigned are residents of Alameda County and some of us are residents of Oakland.
We are concerned that homicide investigators in the Oakland Police Department have mishandled and therefore lost important evidence, in more than one case and are not following department policies in interviewing eyewitnesses and the handling of eyewitness evidence.
We acknowledge that erroneous eyewitness identification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions. To increase public safety, it is imperative that violent criminals be prosecuted, and the innocent released from guilt, especially when evidence has been lost or contaminated by mishandling.
Therefore we ask:
- All incidents of mishandled and missing evidence must be thoroughly investigated, and the responsible officers disciplined.
- All investigators must be trained on the proper handling of eyewitness evidence, and required to adhere to these standards and department rules.
- All investigators must be trained on the standards for investigations regarding eyewitnesses and eyewitness evidence (California Peace Officer Legal Sourcebook and POST), and required to follow said standards.
- The investigators who fail or refuse to comply with these standards should be disciplined.
NANCY O’MALLEY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY:
- As the top law enforcement
officer in Alameda County, to articulate a county wide eyewitness policy
for all law enforcement, which includes:
- Double blind presentations of photo lineups and live showings.
- Admonishments given before each and every showing (photo or live).
- Peace Officers are not to talk or take actions during the identification process unless absolutely necessary.
- Other steps to prevent erroneous eyewitness identification.
- Zero tolerance for police officers who mishandle evidence, including stipulating to sanctions and appropriate jury instructions.
- Dismiss the case, where
the evidence is clearly unreliable.