Here's a question, when are they NOT exonerated?
Here's an article from the Sun:
Report clears San Bernardino officer in fatal 2012 shooting
By Greg Cappis, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
POSTED: 04/10/14, 10:14 PM PDT | UPDATED: 2 DAYS AGO 0 COMMENTS
SAN BERNARDINO >> On Jan. 7, 2012, a police officer engaged in a gunbattle with a 32-year-old man.
Lorenzo Baca was struck by three bullets from the gun of San Bernardino police Officer Serbando Saenz. Baca was pronounced dead from a gunshot wound less than an hour later at a hospital that morning.
On Thursday, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office ruled the killing was justified.
“Officer Saenz was reasonably in fear for his life, his partner’s life, and any citizen that may be on the road that morning,” the DA’s report said. “His choice to shoot at Baca was completely justified and reasonable given the circumstances he was faced with.”
Lead Deputy District Attorney Bobbie Mann submitted the report on behalf of District Attorney Michael Ramos after reviewing police reports, dispatch recordings, crime scene photos, hospital photos, autopsy photos, medical records, autopsy protocol and a visit to the scene, according to the report, which is available for viewing online.
The report says Saenz was on patrol with reserve Officer Arlene Preece when he spotted Baca walking west on the north side of Fifth Street, crossing over the 215 Freeway at about 7:24 a.m. Saenz noticed an object, either a screwdriver or ice pick, poking out of Baca’s pants.
The officer pulled his car over and attempted to talk with Baca.
Baca ran from Saenz, west down Fifth Street. He turned and fired one bullet at Saenz, causing the officer to return fire, authorities said.
Baca shot at the officer twice more from a 9mm, black handgun, the report said.
The reserve officer lost sight of Saenz and Baca as they ran down a hill.
The gunbattle continued. Baca eventually stopped moving and was taken into custody.
About four hours later, Baca’s handgun was found near the spot where he collapsed, authorities said. The gun had one round in the chamber and two more in the magazine. Police said seven shell casings and one live round from his semiautomatic handgun were found at the scene.
Saenz reportedly fired 14 times.
Three bullets struck Baca, all from behind — one hit his left butt cheek, another hit the right side of his back, and the third — the fatal shot — went through the center of his back, according to the district attorney’s report.
Saenz had nine years of experience in law enforcement prior to the fatal shooting. He had been a police officer for seven years and was a reserve officer for two years.
When he pulled over to talk with Baca, Saenz “aligned his police car so that he and his partner could use the car doors as cover if necessary,” according to the report. Then he exited the squad car before putting it in park.
According to the report, Saenz followed protocol.
He told his partner and dispatch he was conducting a pedestrian check. Ten seconds later he announced over police radio shots had been fired. At one point he radioed that he had lost sight of Baca, then provided an update when he saw the man again.
Baca was a married man and father of four, according to an obituary.
San Bernardino County court records indicate Baca was named in a 1999 civil complaint filed by then-City Attorney James Penman against the 7th Street gang.
The district attorney’s report pegged Baca as a member of the Westside Verdugo-Calle Siete Locos criminal street gang.
His hands tested positive for gunshot residue about two hours after he was pronounced dead and a toxicology report says he tested positive for methamphetamine, according to the district attorney’s report.
Baca’s widow could not be reached by phone for comment.
A weathered, wooden cross stands at the bottom of the hill where the gunfire erupted more than two years ago.