Review board to consider asking Sheriff's Department to mandate meeting with family members

Sundee Weddle has many questions on what occurred to her son Saxon Rodriguez on July 20, 2021. That’s the day the 22-year-old was discovered useless in a San Diego jail from a fentanyl overdose.

Weddle stated she has repeatedly known as the Sheriff’s Division looking for data however has not been capable of get solutions. What was her son requested in the course of the reserving course of? What was his demeanor on the day of his loss of life? Is there video surveillance that might shed any mild on his case?

“My motivation is actually simply to search out out what occurred to Saxon,” she informed The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Weddle stated that when she has known as the division with questions, she has been referred to the authorized workplace and nobody picks up the telephone.

“I’m nonetheless in shock and I’m nonetheless looking for solutions,” she stated.

The Sheriff’s Division says it has had a household liaison protocol in place since August 2019, however as Weddle’s expertise suggests, the protocol might not have at all times been adopted.

On Tuesday, the county’s Residents’ Legislation Enforcement Overview Board, which gives oversight of the Sheriff’s Division, will think about a suggestion that language be added to the liaison coverage to mandate {that a} division consultant meet with the household of somebody who dies in custody, in the course of the means of arrest or who experiences a big harm by the hands of sheriff’s deputies.

“The aim of the assembly,” the advice says, “can be to advise the household of the investigative end result, reply questions and supply data when acceptable.”

The overview board’s position is restricted to advising the sheriff on coverage modifications, that means the division just isn’t required to simply accept suggestions.

Kinfolk of a number of individuals who have died in Sheriff’s Division custody for the reason that coverage was enacted have informed the Union-Tribune that they’ve been unable to get particulars in regards to the occasions surrounding the deaths of their family members. Many have employed attorneys to assist them get solutions.

AC Mills, whose son Kevin Lamar Mills died in a San Diego County jail virtually two years in the past, nonetheless has not been capable of entry division medical information generated in the course of the few days his son spent in custody.

Tammy Wilson, whose husband Omar Moreno Arroyo was arrested by sheriff’s deputies after she known as 911 early final 12 months looking for assist for him, was saved ready exterior the Males’s Central Jail in downtown San Diego all evening, though Arroyo died in custody hours earlier.

Within the months since their family members died, each Mills and Wilson, like Weddle, have develop into vocal critics of Sheriff’s Division practices.

Park Parker, the overview board’s government officer, stated he proposed the coverage revision after talking to relations in the middle of his investigations.

“I’ve by no means heard {that a} household was contacted upon the conclusion of an investigation and offered a possibility to study its outcomes and have their questions answered,” he stated.

“Households are in all probability being contacted on the very begin of the investigation,” he added, “however data is infrequently offered throughout subsequent interactions.”

Parker stated that any contact from the division seems to be associated to murder investigators acquiring data, not answering questions.

That was Weddle’s expertise. She stated she was contacted by a murder investigator.

“Loads of his line of questioning made me really feel like they needed to make Saxon’s loss of life seem to be Saxon’s fault,” she stated.

Sheriff’s Division spokesperson Lt. Amber Baggs stated that there isn’t any formal recordkeeping with regards to households being contacted by a liaison, and there may be not a single worker who works as a liaison, however a number of.

Baggs stated that if there have been particular circumstances the place a household was not supplied with a liaison, she would look into it.

“If a mistake was made, I wish to learn about it so it may be corrected and never occur once more,” she stated.

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