Lawyer wants independent investigation in police shooting

Lawyer wants independent investigation in police shooting
Police and emergency vehicles are seen in the overnight hours Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in the aftermath of a police gun battle with two suspects at the Four Points Sheraton hotel on California Avenue in Bakersfield, Calif.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - A lawyer has called for an independent investigation on behalf of the family of a police informant who was shot and killed by officers last month.

Two men were killed in an exchange of gunfire with officers outside Four Points Sheraton hotel on California Avenue. The officers were looking for Justin Harger, a parolee wanted by local law enforcement and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Officers conducted surveillance in the area, saw Harger's vehicle arrive in the hotel parking lot, and officers conducted a traffic stop.

Harger and his passenger, 34-year-old Jorge Joel Ramirez, "immediately exited their vehicle and Harger opened fire on the officers and officers returned fire," according to a previous police news release.

Ramirez was working as an informant for police, in exchange for "some consideration on a case for trafficking narcotics," police Chief Greg Williamson told Eyewitness News.

Los Angeles-based attorney Mark Geragos said in an emailed statement Wednesday that the Ramirez family "has been stonewalled by the Bakersfield Police" in the aftermath of the shooting.

Here's Geragos' full written statement:

We represent the family of Jorge Joel Ramirez, a 34 year old unarmed young man who was shot and killed on September 16th, by Bakersfield Police while working as an informant for the Bakersfield Police Department.

Jorge was working with the Bakersfield police to catch an armed and dangerous fugitive wanted in a shooting. It is clear that something went terribly wrong, but the family has been stonewalled by the Bakersfield Police. Our own preliminary investigation has revealed extensive communications by the Bakersfield police directing Jorge.

The Bakersfield police sent Jorge to his execution on September 16, 2013. The police also placed the entire community at risk based on their reckless and outrageous operation.

The Police release of public information of the facts surrounding the shooting are a moving target.  The goal seems to be an attempt to explain and justify the killing while slandering Jorge. Even while this so called investigation is still pending, Police Chief Williamson has indicated that he has already made up his mind and that he has decided his officers did nothing wrong.

The family of Jorge demand an investigation conducted by an independent agency. Chief Williamson should insist on an independent investigation, at very least, to avoid the bias he has already injected into the process through his media appearances.  He should immediately step aside from any involvement in this matter. The officers involved in the shooting, who have so far illegally refused to give statements, must be compelled to provide statements about their involvement and they must be held accountable for their conduct as required by the law.