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Review of 1970 Ruben Salazar slaying to contain 'interesting new information'

Ruben A review of L.A. County Sheriff's Department records in the 1970 slaying of former Times columnist and KMEX-TV news director Ruben Salazar will be made public as early as this week and is expected to include “interesting new information,” an official said.

The highly anticipated report is expected to shed light on the journalist’s death caused by a tear-gas missile fired by a deputy during a riot in East Los Angeles. Questions and controversy have continued to cloud the incident, even after 40 years.

Sheriff Lee Baca last year asked for a review of eight boxes of related records by his department’s watchdog agency in response to a California Public Records Act request filed by The Times.

Michael Gennaco, who heads the Office of Independent Review, the civilian watchdog agency that monitors the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, said Monday his probe will be ready this week or next.

“There will be some interesting new information,” he said.

Members of Salazar's family, community activists and county supervisors Gloria Molina and Mark Ridley-Thomas have urged release of the files to help bring closure to a painful chapter in Los Angeles County history.

The Latino Caucus in Sacramento and the Radio Television & News Assn. of Southern California are also urging Baca to unseal the records.

"For too long, a cloud has hung over the Sheriff's Department because of questions about the circumstances surrounding the death of our honored colleague, Ruben Salazar," the news association said in a statement released to The Times.

Unsealing the files "will go a long way toward bringing to a close this sad chapter in the history of journalism in Los Angeles," the statement read.

When the review was launched, Gennaco said that if he found sufficient information, his office would assess the Sheriff’s Department's actions during Salazar's slaying and compare them with current policies and procedures.

At Baca's request, county supervisors established the Office of Independent Review in 2001 as a civilian oversight agency monitoring allegations of misconduct in the department. Baca has turned to it for probes in the past.

Salazar was struck in the head by a 10-inch, torpedo-shaped tear-gas projectile fired by a deputy. The newsman was inside the Silver Dollar bar on Whittier Boulevard, where he and a KMEX reporter had been taking a break from covering the action.

It was never determined whether the deputy was following department policy when he fired the missile, which bore the warning: "Not to be used against crowds."

During a 16-day coroner's inquest, the hearing officer twice refused to subpoena the sheriff's manual covering the use of tear gas, saying the document was classified. Deputies testified they warned people to get out of the bar after receiving reports of an armed man inside.

But four men who had been inside told the inquest panel they were forced back into the bar by deputies moments before the fatal projectile was fired. No armed man was ever found inside the small tavern.

The inquest concluded that Salazar "died at the hands of another," a ruling that confused observers and angered Mexican American activists who said the hearing focused on the actions of the rioters but failed to investigate what happened in the moments leading up to the killing.

"It was a whitewash," Joe Rank, a former KMEX vice president who hired Salazar to head the station's news department, said previously.

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ACLU staffer said she witnessed deputies beating inmate at Twin Towers

-- Robert Faturechi and Robert Lopez

Photo: Journalist Ruben Salazar, right, meets with Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. Credit: University of Arizona

 
Comments () | Archives (9)

This is just a way to build fraudalegent money from all f the indviduals involved.

The money will be divided among investigators and supposed victims. Find out who was sleeping with whom at that time.

Albeit tragic, Ruben Salazar was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I believe that too many years have gone by and the efficacy of any report produced by the Office of Independent Review, is reliant limited inforamtion, since people have died or moved away, unable to be located.

For many of us who were alive back then and on the scene
at the park and in the aftermath on Whittier Bl. came away from the inquest with the Mexican saying, "!Que casualidad!"
It was to us no coincidence that the only casualty of that entire mess on that Saturday was the most respected Mexican reporter of that era. Our only English speaking voice Ruben's voice was silenced with a gas projectile through the head, I think most likely not by accident.

What always intrigues me about cases like these is that, even if the police/sheriffs are culpable, they immediately surround and protect their own. Blue shield of silence is the equivalent to "The Street" code of silence (aka, Stop Snitching.)

A famous photo showing a woman pleading with the tear gas canister carrying cop aiming for inside of the bar seems to suggest the woman was warning the cop that people were still inside.

I see no other reason why she would interfere with the duty of that cop other than for the purpose of saving lives.

A famous photo showing a woman pleading with the tear gas canister carrying cop aiming for inside of the bar seems to suggest the woman was warning the cop that people were still inside.

I see no other reason why she would interfere with the duty of that cop other than for the purpose of saving lives.

I didn't know law enforcement had missles in their arsenal?

Or could it be the LA Times is again trying to fan the flames??

How about showing a picture of the so called missles, and lets also hear what word or description the manufacturer and the sheriff department uses to name or describe the ICBM used in this instance.

I have been fascinated with this subject for the last few decades. I was with my then boyfriend across from the Silver Dollar Bar for the duration of the parade. When the parade ended my boyfriend and I chuckled as we observed Ruben Salazar walk from the parade route and enter the Silver Dollar Bar. The bar was on Whittier Blvd and quite garish with the marquee of two woman with sparkling breasts. We were stationed at Hollywood Discos talking to the owner of the record shop for at least a couple of hours. I believe it was 2:30 in the afternoon when LA Sheriff's deputies asked us to leave the area. We observed two deputies enter the bar. I never heard any gun shots. We had proceeded down Whittier Blvd, deciding to go to the park where the parade route ended to see what was going on. A Asian man stopped us and asked us to listen to the radio. We heard that rioting had broken out and hurried back the same path we came to our car. Meaning we passed the Silver Dollar Bar. On the way back to the Inland Empire we saw the sky fill with smoke. I always wondered what time did he get shot. I also wondered why from our vantage point the entrance had a wooded fence entry to block the light of patrons entering. I never saw this in any of the renditions of what happened that day.

"During a 16-day coroner's inquest, the hearing officer twice refused to subpoena the sheriff's manual covering the use of tear gas, saying the document was classified."

Sensitive, maybe. Classified? never!

hahah The County has no authority to 'classify' anything! That's exclusive to the Federal Government. I can't believe the public fell for that lie.


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