FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) — The city of Fresno is expected to release a report next week after the controversy surrounding the Fresno independent police auditor’s decision to withhold a report regarding use of force accusations against a teen.
During a meeting with Fresno Commission for Police Reform, the city’s independent police auditor, John Gliatta, said despite finishing up a report on a Jan. 2019 incident — he decided to hold off on releasing it. Police body cam footage of the incident showed officer Christopher Martinez repeatedly hitting 17-year-old London Wallace.
Regarding his decision, Gliatta said he feared community backlash, as he finished his report about a week prior to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“I internally decided not to put it out. The community had some very fragile emotions going on and I didn’t think it would help matters by putting this out because I contradict what the [Fresno Police Department] came up with.”
Residents called into Thursday’s Fresno City Council meeting wanting him to resign.
Since the situation wasn’t an agenda item for the meeting, the council couldn’t discuss the matter much.
Fresno City Manager Wilma Quan released a statement Friday about the incident:
In order to address public comments over the issue of transparency, I have consulted with our Independent Reviewer and he has agreed to publish a special supplement to the 2020 2nd Quarter Office of Independent Review report outlining his review of the London Wallace incident. We both felt this was the best course of action to provide clarity and to satisfy concerns from not only the public but from our elected officials.
As with all OIR reports, documents cannot be released without a review by our legal counsel to ensure that both the rights of the complaining party and the officers involved are protected. This due diligence is necessary to protect the City of Fresno from further liability and with this process in mind, the report will be released no later than the end of next week. This is a unique situation and future releases will conform to the normal quarterly OIR report schedule.Fresno City Manager Wilma Quan