By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Bakersfield City Councilwoman Irma Carson, herself a former police sergeant, said that because of concerns from the community she will meet with the police chief to determine if an outside review of a recent case is justified.
That is the July 9 shooting death of 15-year-old Traveon John Avila by officers Timothy Berchtold and Noah Landers. Avila was driving a stolen car that led police on a pursuit to Windsor Street where the car backed up at the officers before they fired shots, police said.
A police review board said the shootings were justified because the officers believed that Berchtold's life was in danger at the time. It was Berchtold's third fatal shooting in two months and the previous two were also ruled justified.
Carson said she is considering whether to ask for an outside review, which has been done before, including a case she handled in the 1970s that was reviewed by the state attorney general's staff.
Police Sgt. Mary DeGeare said she checked with veteran officers who could only recall a few reviews by the district attorney's staff in recent decades. None of those reviews involved a fatality, she said.
No officer in that time period has been charged with a crime, DeGeare sad.
But Carson said some people don't feel comfortable with the results of the Avila shooting review, so she will look into it on their behalf. Two eyewitnesses have said Avila's car wasn't going very fast, he didn't have an adequate chance to surrender and the shooting was unnecessary.
Carson said she expects to meet with Chief Greg Williamson on Thursday. She said she will decide afterward whether to ask for an outside review.
Williamson said several witnesses backed up the officers' accounts that Berchtold was in danger.