Local News in Brief : Westminster : Grand Jury Rejects Charges in Shooting
The Orange County Grand Jury, after concluding its investigation into the fatal shooting of Frank Martinez, recommended that no indictments be handed down against the officers involved, Westminster police said Monday.
“The Orange County district attorney’s office has informed the Westminster Police Department that the grand jury has rejected filing charges against all officers in the Martinez shooting,” Westminster Police Sgt. Bill Lewis said.
“We are gratified with the ruling, but due to pending litigation, we cannot make any further comment,” Lewis said.
Attorneys for the Martinez family could not be reached late Monday.
The Westminster City Council last week rejected a $110-million wrongful death claim filed by the family in connection with the fatal shooting of Martinez, 18, during a confrontation at his mother’s birthday party. Such claims must be filed and rejected before a lawsuit can be instituted.
The FBI also has been investigating the shooting death to determine whether any civil rights violations occurred.
Since the July 15 shooting, police and the Martinez family have given widely divergent accounts of events leading to the back-yard confrontation between police and the youth. The incident also has strained relations between authorities and residents in the predominantly Latino neighborhood.
Police, who contend the shooting was justifiable, said three officers who had chased Martinez into his back yard had their batons taken from them and risked losing their guns. Martinez was shot when he allegedly charged an officer with a beer bottle.
His family, however, has claimed that police shot the unarmed Martinez as he tried to get up and flee.