DA: Anaheim Police Killing Of Joel Acevedo Justified, Witness Claim That PD "Executed" Acevedo Meritless

joel_acevedo1.jpg
Joel Acevedo
Nearly a year after a pair of deadly officer-involved shootings rocked Anaheim, the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) has ruled the killing of Joel Acevedo on July 22, 2012 justified.

The Weekly obtained the agency's 10-page report, addressed to Interim Chief Raul Quezada and yet to be publicly released. It concludes that an investigation "does not support a finding of criminal culpability" on the part of Anaheim Police Officer Kelly Phillips, who fired the fatal shots.

Acevedo, 21, was riding in a 2003 silver Lexus SUV driven by Vanessa Janine Duran. Jose Gaudencio Hernandez was also a passenger in the vehicle that police later reported as stolen. At around 11:20 p.m. on the night of July 22, 2012, according to the DA report, they were headed eastbound on West Guinida Lane.

Traveling westbound in a gang suppression unit were three Anaheim police officers: Trang Pham, Daniel Lambaren and Phillps. The two vehicles crossed paths when Phillips, the driver, reported recognizing Duran.

The marked APD patrol unit made a U-turn and began following the SUV for the stated reason that the license plate was not illuminated as mandated by law. Another traffic violation was noted before an accelerated pursuit commenced northbound on Iris Street. Attempting later to turn back on Guinida Lane, the SUV jumped the curb, blowing out its front tires as the three occupants took off running.

Hernandez was said to have dropped and then picked up an object as he fled. Phillips stated that he believed the object was a firearm. Hernandez was later detained by Lambaren, but the report does not specify the alleged object or if it was ever recovered by police. Duran and Acevedo ran in different directions. Officer Phillips, in a voluntary statement given an entire eight days after the incident, claimed that he entered a parking lot between two apartment complexes in pursuit of Acevedo. There, as he approached a white Honda SUV, the officer says he saw a shadow and heard a gunshot at which point felt his life to be threatened.

Phillips, an officer involved in the fatal 2009 shooting of Caesar Cruz in Anaheim, went on to claim that a dark shadow emerged towards the front of the second vehicle and when he heard a second gunshot, returned fire shooting four rounds from his .45 Caliber Glock Pistol. "I just had a dark shadow moving," the officer is quoted as saying. "As soon as I got the dark shadow, I shot."

Thumbnail image for acevedo.jpg

Police claim Acevedo fell to his right side with a semi-automatic pistol clutched in his right hand. As the man laid twitching, Phillips states that he approached him, kicked the gun from his hand where it fell between Acevedo's legs. The above photo from the scene was released last summer showing the weapon positioned as stated by Phillips. A dying Acevedo was handcuffed, according to the report, and rolled on his back.

The autopsy, which spared its usual emphasis on gang-affiliated tattoos, noted three gunshot wounds sustained by the 21-year old, including fatal ones to the head and lower neck, which severed his aorta. Unlike with Manuel Angel Diaz, who was shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting on Anna Drive the day before, no independent autopsy was ever conducted.

Neither officer Pham nor Lambaren witnessed Acevedo firing, though both reported hearing three to four gunshots. Duran, the driver, successfully evaded arrest that night, but would eventually be taken into custody at a later time. The statement she gave to the OCDA recounts a wholly different scenario, with an explosive claim: Anaheim PD "executed" Acevedo.


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140 comments
cynthia241
cynthia241

I think that in the end we have lost our focus on where the blame really lies.At what point do we hold the gangs accountable for the need to send Gang Unit officers in there?  We need balance, we need to hold ALL wrongdoing accountable, or we are nothing but hypocrites. Who is up for an anti-gang march  to focus attention on the real head of the snake? 


cynthia241
cynthia241

I waited for the DA's report, as law enforcement asks us to do, not wanting to jump to conclusions. I have a lot of questions not answered by the DA and some questions caused by the omission of info in this report, which was included in others.

 A) there is no record of Acevedo being convicted of being in a gang, indeed the District Attorney says they reviewed Joey's criminal history but then omits the list of that history, At this time the only evidence that Joey Acevedo was a gang member is the word of the law enforcement department who benefits from calling a young man a gang member, thus convicting him in the court of public opinion, with "evidence" that falls short of what I have seen used in court.  I am not saying Joey was NOT involved in a gang, I am saying I would like more evidence than the unverified allegations of those who ultimately benefit from the statement. 

B) I agree with Gabriel about the lack of report on gunpowder residue on Joey's hands or body from firing the weapon. If they didn't do the test someone is an idiot, in fact if I were Phillips I would be furious at them for not going to that extra effort and erase all doubt of his justification for defending himself. Otherwise we have nothing to tie Joey to the gun but the reports of seeing a shadow. Like Gabriel I also noticed the position of the gun seemed inconsistent with the act of kicking it AWAY from his hand. 

C) What gives me chills more than anything else in this report is the description of one injury in particular. The autopsy describes a bullet going into his elbow, shattering his arm, and coming to rest in his hip, where they removed the bullet. Position your body in any configuration that lets a bullet travel that way. I come to ONE conclusion, and it scares me nearly out of my mind, and I want to know if anyone comes to the same conclusion. Read the DA's report, read the autopsy and the description of injuries, then try to contort your body in a way that would allow for that bullet path. Post here with what you come up with, and honest to God I am hoping someone has a logical explanation, because I am having a hard time sleeping right now, until I can figure this out. I would especially love to hear from law enforcement who could potentially offer explanations of a scenario I have not thought of, something they see that an untrained civilian has somehow missed. Please. 

Anyone?

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

@ltPar Yeah, I've noticed that so many law enforcement leaders from OC have traveled to Afghanistan/Iraq/Colombia etc. to train Police etc. Like Stan Knee - LMAO. No wonder we are doing so well in the Middle East. Oh, but you made a small fortune so who cares right ;) 

Your local law enforcement community were so concerned about Colombian law enforcement that they were harassing the hell out of me while I was working in cooperation with Bogota Metro PD. But hey, how dare I object to being treated like a piece of collateral damage, right. 

It's Colombia not Columbia. Why are my fellow Americans so proud of their geographic ignorance?





jason7
jason7

We, decent mexican community, don't need crap like that, that idiot asked for it, me, as mexican, don't want to be related at all with scumbags like that, I am not white, just a hard working mexican who doesn't put up with that shit, that's the kind of people that make us look bad. 

fuckallbitch
fuckallbitch

Dont believe everything you ready on the news. My opinion is that shit was covered up to make the cops look innocent. Fuck dirty cops

smithy
smithy

Stop civilian brutality.  We'll worry about the bad apple cops when the homies stop popping caps at every percieved slight.

Shots72625
Shots72625

"Police claim Acevedo fell to his right side with a semi-automatic pistol clutched in his right hand. As the man laid twitching, Phillips states that he approached him, kicked the gun from his hand where it fell between Acevedo's legs."    1. Aren't police trained to kick the gun away from the body? 2. How do you kick a gun out of his right hand and it ends up between his legs? 

FFO1939
FFO1939

One Cockroach down, millions to go. Like I said, it's in their blood. They are beyond reason and only a baseball bat is the tool for them to understand...

Matt Miller Sr.
Matt Miller Sr.

That's not true Kathy. Gustavo is brown (sorta) & I seriously doubt he's ever been mistaken for a gang member or a tuff guy. I'd be surprised if there ever was a white person who had to cross the street outta fear of seeing Gus coming down the road.

fc2479
fc2479

God bless the Anaheim Police....Maybe Gustavo should be like Chris Rock and start a column educating his VATO buddies on how not to get lit up by the POLICE.....he can call it Ask the VATO.  He can write it in English, Spanish, and Spanglish.....

El_Rapido
El_Rapido

So let me get this straight…..this pendejo CHOSE to be in a gang, CHOSE to tatt-up his neck, CHOSE to ride in a stolen vehicle, CHOSE to run-away from cops after being told to stop….and yet it’s the officer’s fault that the pendejo cholo got shot??? The dumbbass deserved it!!  Listen, NO ONE I KNOW likes to be pulled over  and interrogated by cops.  I know of NO ONE that likes to be questioned and harassed by cops.  But in the very least, I do know that if I get pulled over I’m not going to jump out of my car and run.  This very act of “running away from authority” is a telling sign that you have something to hide, are guilty of something or you’re doing something that you shouldn’t be.  Otherwise ,why run?  I’m sure it was dark and even if it was lit up, street lights aren’t the best and the yellow lights cast some dim shadows…..had the baboso not ran away he’d probably still be alive today….pero por pendejo, se chingo…..  

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

I find the timing of this report a few days before a scheduled protest interesting as well. I hope OC law enforcement isn't trying to provoke this community.  

Which reminds me, living in front of the Anaheim city council, I often frequented the Starbucks near Anaheim and Oak - this was one of the establishments whose windows were damaged during last year's protest. I couldn't understand how people had the opportunity to vandalize these windows with the police presence that day. You'd think police would be permanently stationed all along this mini mall just one block away from protest central. Well I met a man in Starbucks who claims to have been inside when the window smashing occurred. He stated that there was NO police presence near the Starbucks when the window smashing began. 

Knowing the OC law enforcement community to be masters of provocation and not averse to damaging property through the use of criminal thugs, I toss this out there for consumption. 

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

"He didn't have a problem with the police. He was being "followed" for an improperly illuminated license plate".

THE POLICE FOLLOWED HIM AND SHOT HIM FOR THAT.

THEY ARE CALLED CRIMINAL COPS.

GO SEE THE MOVIE RIGHTEOUS KILL.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK HEADS PEOPLE THE COPS ARE A GANG AND ARE BEING PAID TO DO SO AND BE SO. THEY TREAT AND LOOK AT THE CITIZENS AS CRIMINALS WHEN THEY ARE CRIMINALS THEMSELVES. THE COPS ARE NOT YOUR PROTECTORS.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

"80 PERCENT OF ALL COPS ARE CRIMINALS THEY VIOLATE THE LAWS WHILE ON DUTY AND ARE BEING PAID TO DO SO AND BE SO".

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

Two Faced Tony Rackaukas - showed up recently in an OC Courtroom to assist in the prosecution of the Saudi Priceess accused of human trafficking, posted 5 million bail by the Saudi Consolate and the DA's office took the money.

"The citizens have a right to protect themselves from the police". OCDA Tony Rackaukas in the Kelly Thomas police MURDER on KFI News Radio am 640 the John and Ken Show.

Why is he assisting in prosecutions when he's supposed to be defending them? The DA;s office is in it for thier own interests.

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

I've mentioned this before at the Anaheim city council podium: Anyone in Orange County, CA - from the meter maid to the District Attorney -  investigating police shootings leading to fatalities (especially when the person is Hispanic male) - is a hate crime in and of itself. This comment is based on what I've witnessed over more than 15+ years. 

"None of the residents of the densely populated area were presented. The canvassing was said to have produced no witnesses to the supposed shootout between Acevedo or Phillips, nor any corroboration of Duran's account--only general notions that consecutive gunshots were heard." 

How convenient. Did the report mention whether this firearm had been fired or whether there was any residue recovered from same or from the victim? ---------> "no independent autopsy ... conducted".

"immunized account" found to be "less credible," "evincing moral turpitude," and "stretch[ing] credulity."

What stretches credulity Mr. Anthony Joseph "TonyRackauckas, Jr. is a police community in Orange County, CA that claims to be fighting gang member crime while simultaneously using Hispanic gang members to commit crimes for them - your cops here in Orange County are poster children for the state of "moral turpitude". Cops that will violate their oath for a ham and cheese sandwich - some for a box of crayons. At the Anaheim city council, I called this disgusting hypocrisy "an endless cycle of criminal insanity were the only winners are these cops with their six figure salaries and jackpot pensions at the end".  

Speaking of moral turpitude. you never answered my question posed directly to your face at the Anaheim city council meeting last year Mr. DA: how morally bankrupt and criminal does the Orange County justice system have to be for a person to learn about being convicted of a crime upon receiving a "terms of probation" letter from the Orange County Superior Court. And the stunt pulled by your 2 dummies at Starbucks one day (one wearing a "Gang probation unit" jacket and the other dummy wearing a District Attorney jacket - both standing directly in front of my table blabbing) wasn't a sufficient answer. 

Speaking of moral turpitude Part 2,  John "I've skipped town like Stan Knee" Welter also did not answer my question posed directly to his face at the Anaheim city council: Concerned about gang members while using gang members to commit crimes - contradiction much?  And the stunt pulled by his crew the next morning - parking 3 APD vehicles in front of my apt. building entrance followed in the afternoon by an Anaheim fire truck in the same spot wasn't a sufficient answer. 

In conclusion, many people in the Anaheim/Garden Grove/OC community are sick and tired of the criminal behavior of these cops (as if the gang member problem wasn't enough to deal with). Your mafia-trash-terrorist-act-since-before-9/11 will no longer be our little secret. The people of this County, this Country and around the world are going to now have a front row seat and understand what many here understand. Happiest place on earth? my ass ... excuse me ... my derrière. Don't want to offend the respectable SAT crowd. 

Ask a Mexican
Ask a Mexican

Actually, never in Orange County...every single officer-involved shooting has been ruled justified, even when not.

Danny Chiang
Danny Chiang

He was armed and the guys that shot him were real cops not wannabes. Really it's the OPPOSITE of Trayvon Martin.

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

Dies anybody know what the parameters of the California version of stand your ground are? and can it be used in a defense from killer cops?

Anthony Gonzalez
Anthony Gonzalez

The city of Anaheim does have a problem: With Violence, Gang Violence, Gun Violence..Until that problem is addressed, there are going to be more confrontations, and the more confrontations and the escalation of violence, there will ultimately be more officer involved shootings...People instead of complaining about the police maybe you should get involved, save your street, save your block, save your City......

Justin Kaplan
Justin Kaplan

If your going to be a gang banger and produce a firearm on a police officer your gonna get killed. Dont care if he was a good person or not. if he was such a good person they should of not ran or had a gun on him and he wouldn't of been pulled over to begin with. let alone rightfully shot. live by the sword die by the sword..

Rsmith714
Rsmith714

Ill read report and give you my opinion.

Message me back.

El_Rapido
El_Rapido

@jason7 Amen jason7. I'm also mexican, scratch that, SOY PAISA, and I hate when stupid cholos like these ruin it for all the hard-working Latinos (my brother Salvadorenos, Guatemaltecos, Mexicanos, Hondurenos, y todos los de America Latina).  Its the fault of these kids, that don't take advantage of the opportunities they have growing in this country, that us immigrants are held in bad light. 

greenhandz
greenhandz

@Shots72625 There were witnesses - but they were children - ten of them  -  waiting to take a shower in the apartment directly above the incident (the water in 314 was not working that day and one of the neighbors who still had working water agreed to let the kids take showers at her place)  -  I don't know if because of their age - all 12 and under - the police and/or investigators did not question them - but all ten of those children have the SAME story and they repeat the SAME story over and over with no deviation.  The children saw Kelly Phillips take the gun out of the car.  They saw the police take photos of the gun beside Joey's head, turn Joey's body over, place the gun between his legs and then take the photo that we now see.  EVERYONE in this community heard FIVE shots.  THREE of those shots are IN Joey.  There are two bullet holes in the respective buildings on either side of the parking lot.  One bullet hole in 314 that has since been plastered and painted over, and another in 308 that is still there.  I was on the scene with many other neighbors as the children were looking out the window from the point they heard the tires on the curb.  They were yelling "he's still alive!"  As I rounded the corner after hearing the gun shots.  They all say that Joey got out of the car.  He did not run.  The children in this community LOVED YOGI.  They knew him as Yogi.  He wasn't a gang member - that was just his nickname - he sang with them - he made them laugh.  He was a father of a new baby.  They watched him being murdered.  ALL of these children know what Kelly Phillips look like - which is why there was such an outrage when Kelly Phillips pulled Donna Acevedo over that day on Guinida Lane.  It was the CHILDREN who recognized him.  The CHILDREN who were upset by what they were seeing.  These children are not "gang members!"  That is a ridiculous and horrendous notion!  These children watched a cop EXECUTE Joey Acevedo and there is NO justice!!!!!  </3

batkeata
batkeata

@Frank07 Wow, you want a massacre don't you? You thirst for a war were children die

batkeata
batkeata

@El_Rapido Run, because it's scary, run, because there were already two who had been killed. He was running because he did not want to die. You would've run too if you'd known the chances of living were better kept on running feet than stagnant submission. Besides, the car wasn't really stolen, and the gun was planted, the tat was in actuality forced on him, and he wasn't a gang member. It wasn't his fault, he was a scared child running away from bad men, and the bad men got away with it. What if one day they shot you and planted a gun on you and said you were a gang member? Then some ignorant idiot comes to some page without knowing a thing about you, and starts saying something opinionated because he grew up in a society where the bad guys can wear good guy masks and the people are stupid enough to believe the whole idiotic farce.

Whophantom
Whophantom

Starbucks & the mini mall weren't protected because none of the establishments "pop"  (freebies) for coffee, food, etc. I bet their wasn't a donut shop in all of Anaheim that rec'd damage. U tell me.

greenhandz
greenhandz

@Danny Chiang He was NOT armed.  The gun was IN THE CAR.  There ARE witnesses.  The investigators refuse to follow up with them.  There was NO Gun Residue on his hands.  The report has HOLES.  Lots of them.  The report does not make sense.  Kelly Phillips murdered before.  He learned from the last one how to set up the scene to get the most "bang" for his buck.  APD removed Kelly Phillips from patrol duties.   There was a reason for that.  His ego got the best of him and now he's got a desk job.

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

@Anthony Gonzalez Your police were stupid enough to try to treat me like a gang member. That's a problem. 

blufairie
blufairie

Really? Then why have there been zero officer involved shootings in Anaheim since the Uprising? The "problem" with Joel was an improperly illuminated license plate.

greenhandz
greenhandz

@Justin Kaplan stop saying "live by the sword, die by the sword" - it's so antiquated and entirely irrelevant in this instance.  Witnesses - PLURAL - saw the gun taken out of the car.  Joey had NO gun residue on his hands.  Witnesses saw Joey get out of the car and stand beside it.  The car was being driven by a WOMAN - SHE was not being pulled over by the police.  The car was  being FOLLOWED.  Kelly Phillips recognized JOEY - who was NOT driving the car!  The woman and the minor in the car ran - NOT JOEY.  If the police were - as they say- following the car because it had an improperly illuminated license plate - or as they told us at the scene - because he was driving "suspiciously slowly" (there were children EVERYWHERE) (and maybe this is why the investigators did not use any accounts of what REALLY happened - because most of the witnesses were minors). 

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

@greenhandz @Shots72625 And your source for this revealing information is whom?  Sorry, crystal balls and tea leaves do not count.  Did your source take the time to share this information with the District Anttorney's Office.  No, didn't think so.  Quit trying to bullshit people with figments of your imigination. 

gabrielsanroman
gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@batkeata @Frank07 Ignore this clown. There are other things to ponder, like why, if the report said Acevedo's DNA was on the handgun, there is no mention of GSR (gunshot residue) on his right hand?

bob_lablaw96
bob_lablaw96

@batkeata @El_Rapido Put down the pipe!  You are so full of shit that it might make your head assplode!

Did they plant the tattoo? Did they search his school pictures looking for someone to identify? Did they tell him that they would count to 10 while he ran, then try to find him?

El_Rapido
El_Rapido

@batkeata @El_Rapido The car wasn't really stolen?  Let me guess, it was "borrowed without permission"?  And I find it hard to believe that someone would forcefully make him tatt his neck.....unless of course they held a gun to his head, or he landed in prison for let me guess, "borrowing another car without permission"? ....its funny how every time I get stopped I never CHOOSE to run away from the cops.  I get questioned, I may have gotten harrassed once or twice, but I never ran. I got cited or got a ticket for whatever I did and I was on my way. At no point did I like it, but I also knew better than to run away. Secondly, quit trying to make this hoodlum "an innocent child".  The guy was a full-fledged 21 year-old MAN ,I don't know of any 21 year old children.  This guy was fully responsible for all his actions and choices.  He needed to grow a pair, and own up for his actions...and that right there is where the problems lays.  He consistently made bad-choice after bad-choice never stopping to THINK about his actions and consequences that came thereof.

bob_lablaw96
bob_lablaw96

@18usc241 You are beginning to sound like they should have treated you as mentally disabled or crippled. You have a lot of issues that you need to discuss with them without painting them all with the same broad brush.  After all, isn't that what you are saying that they did with you?


mophisto.waltz
mophisto.waltz

@greenhandz Yeah... there were children EVERYWHERE at 11:20 pm..... looks like there are just as many holes in your story as you claim to be in the APD story.... 

tonyjohn5
tonyjohn5

@ltpar @greenhandz @Shots72625 @cynthia241 The sources were listed in the response that you obvious couldn't read.  And yes Donna Acevedo did take the witness testimony did go to OCDA who rejected them.  Kelly Phillips is a murderer who shot Joey while he was handcuffed on the ground and then dropped a gun on him.  That is what the witnesses said

El_Rapido
El_Rapido

@batkeata  When I was 21 year old MAN, and not "child" like you claim,  I was a lot dumber than I am now....but not dumb enough to steal a car, tatt my neck or run from cops when asked to be stopped, questioned or interrogated.

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

Regarding being a mentally ill cripple:

Let's see - when this racist hate crime began (under Stan Knee/Brad Gates/ Randall Gaston etc.) I was working on embedded systems designs for law enforcement/business interests in Bogota, Colombia.

The engineering job included mountain climbing in same country.

Regarding your second more reasonable sounding point:

Your police community does not want to seriously discuss my issues with them. They just want to continue violating 18USC241 of the United States criminal code because there are enough criminals above them willing to play cover. What should concern you and the rest of Orange County is that your tax money is being used to cover up the garbage acts of men long since retired.

Men who betrayed you and their own.

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