12.25.2007

ER - 4/13/2007 Closure necessary in Cheri Moore shooting

Closure necessary in Cheri Moore shooting

A full year after Cheri Moore was shot and killed by Eureka Police Department officers, the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office has yet to determine whether the officers involved will be charged in connection with her death.

One year. Twelve months. Fifty-two weeks. It’s a long time.

Time enough for a lengthy public inquest, for a community to begin to heal, for a police department to acknowledge lessons learned and for new leadership at the EPD to affirm the department’s commitment to candor, honesty and transparency.

Time enough, too, one would think, to decide whether the officers put that day in an impossible situation should be held to answer for their actions.

The shooting occurred in the final months of a bitter and contentious battle for the DA’s Office between then-Deputy DA Worth Dikeman and incumbent DA Paul Gallegos.

The shots fired that day, in fact, caused Dikeman to reschedule a news conference at which he had planned to announce endorsements his campaign had received from the Eureka Police Officers’ Association, as well as from every other law enforcement union in the county.

In subsequent weeks, Dikeman accused Gallegos of making “political hay” of the investigation, and demanded the case be turned over to the California Attorney General’s Office.

“I do not believe that the Attorney General’s Office should routinely be involved in a case simply because the person being investigated is a police officer,” Dikeman said at a news conference.

“However, (Gallegos’) … failure to expeditiously resolve this matter and his strained relationship with the rest of the law enforcement community, including the Eureka Police Officers’ Association, make this an appropriate case for the attorney general to exercise his discretion under the government code and take full charge of the investigation.”

That was on May 25, 2006. More than 10 months ago. Forty-four weeks. It’s a long time.

That same day, Gallegos issued a news release that stated in part: “The District Attorney’s Office is continuing its investigation into the shooting death of Ms. Cheri Moore. At the conclusion of the investigation, we will determine if there is a need to present the case to the Humboldt County criminal grand jury. If the matter proceeds in that manner, we will request, and I am confident will receive, a public session of the grand jury.”

And still the community waits.

If Gallegos does not act — immediately — the case should be sent to the Attorney General’s Office.

Certainly the case is complex, but these officers deserve closure, and this community should demand it.

We do.

Copyright (C) 2005, The Eureka Reporter. All rights reserved.

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