Councilmembers defend Fresno auditor’s decision to delay report on excessive force claim

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FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — Fresno’s independent police auditor, John Gliatta, addressed outcry and outlined his process to the Fresno City Council Thursday.

In September, Gliatta admitted he delayed releasing the findings of an excessive use of force case against a police officer. He said he completed it in May, just prior to the death of George Floyd, and tensions were high.

Instead of including it in his next report released in July, he stated in that report, the findings would be in the following report in October. But this information was missed by many, without taking a look back.

“You put ‘To be released in third quarter report’,” Councilmember Mike Karbassi said holding up the report. “So if any of us actually read this, we could have called you and looked into it.”

Some in the community called for Gliatta’s resignation. But during a workshop addressing the issues Council President Miguel Arias called it a “misunderstanding.”

“I think it’s fair to say that the national environment and the recent incidents have just made everybody super hypersensitive, and a little bit distrusting of public entities,” he said.

Gliatta said there was no deception on when it would be released or the reasons for delaying releasing it, and no policies were broken.

“You know people can criticize — Should you have included it in the prior report? Or shouldn’t you? That’s fair. I mean we’re all subject to criticism for every decision that we make but I think you’ve been very clear as to your logic and your reasoning and it’s been very transparent,” Councilmember Garry Bredefeld said.

Gliatta, a former FBI agent, took the auditor role in 2017. He reviews all officer-involved shooting, use of force, and in-custody death cases, where the officer is found not at fault by the department.

“I carried the badge for 30 years, the last thing I want to see is someone tarnishing that badge,” Gliatta said.

Gliatta also noted when he took on the role he was only asked to do one report a year and he was the one who pushed to get information out by making them quarterly.

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