California Department of Justice Report about Antioch Cop Shooting Death of Guadalupe Zavala Recommends No Prosecution of Police

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By Kayla Garcia-Pebdani 

OAKLAND, CA –  California Attorney General Rob Bonta this week released a report regarding Guadalupe Zavala’s death involving a shooting by an officer from the Antioch Police Department Dec. 10, 2021.

The California DOJ, in its news release, acknowledged there have been numerous and ongoing efforts to provide transparency and accountability for law enforcement, and the report contains not only an analysis of the incident, but outlines what DOJ found.

The DOJ concluded in the investigation that pressing criminal charges against the officer who killed Zavala was not appropriate; however, it noted it can provide an important lesson. The Attorney General, in compliance with AB 1506, issued specific policy and practice recommendations as a result of the incident, the report notes.

In the report, AG Bonta said, “Loss of life is always a tragedy… AB 1506 is a critical transparency and accountability tool, and our hope for this report is to provide some understanding and aid in advancing towards California for all.

“The California Department of Justice remains steadfast in our commitment to working together with all law-enforcement partners to ensure an unbiased, transparent, and accountable legal system, for every resident of California.”

On Dec.10, 2021, Antioch Police Department, confirmed the DOJ, responded to a series of calls concerning a man barricaded in his residence with a weapon, and firing shots at both neighboring homes and vehicles. A standoff ensued for roughly six hours, where Zavala shot multiple rounds toward law enforcement personnel, vehicles, and nearby residences, according to the DOJ.

The report noted de-escalation measures, and communication from the crisis negotiation team were employed; the attempts to convince Zavala to leave his home didn’t work.

The report said Zavala exited his front door with what appeared as a “full AR-15 style rifle” and two snipers from the Antioch Police Department fired one round hitting Zavala, who was wearing body armor. He regained his footing, and moved back inside.

After the shooting, a fire was started in Zavala’s home and he ran out and took cover in his backyard, the DOJ said. When police officers approached the backyard fence, Zavala ran toward an armored vehicle and was fatally shot and killed, added the report.

The report noted the DOJ “conducted a thorough investigation into this incident and concluded that the evidence does not show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the officers involved did not act in lawful self-defense or defense of others….there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution of the officers. As such, no further action will be taken in this case.”

The DOJ however, made several policy recommendations it said “will help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.”

DOJ recommended the Antioch Police Department must ensure officers can “effectively communicate with other agencies in future incidents by setting up regional radio systems for interagency communication.”

And, the report recommended, “Antioch Police Department should ensure that officers are equipped with effective communications devices that can operate in the hilly areas covered by their department,” and should “seek additional coverage or upgrades through department-issued cell phone or radio carriers or, if that is impracticable or not feasible, examine whether there are other cell phone carriers or radio channels that would work in all areas they serve.”

About The Author

Kayla Garcia-Pebdani is a fourth-year student at UC Davis, studying Political Science–Public Service with double minors in Human Rights and Professional Writing. She actively engages in social justice issues and advocacy through her roles as an intern for Article 26 Backpack, the Co-Lead for Students Demand Action at UC Davis, and her previous involvement with Catalyst California as a Government Relations Intern. Kayla hopes to further expand her knowledge and skills during her time with the Vanguard. Through her experiences, she aims to highlight injustices in everyday life and provide means for the public to stay aware and hopefully become inclined to get involved.

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