L.A. County Sheriff reconsiders request to open files on Ruben Salazar

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Ruben Salazar

L.A. County Sheriff Spokesman Steve Whitmore told KPCC today he’s reconsidering the denial of a records request from the L.A. Times. “We’re going to revisit this request," Whitmore said. "The sheriff wants to make sure all options are explored before he makes another decision and that decision may be no. But he wants to let the process of analyzing all the documents, which the volumes are eight boxes full of paperwork.”

Los Angeles Times columnist Ruben Salazar died after a sheriff’s deputy fired a tear gas projectile into the bar where he’d taken a break after covering an anti-Vietnam war rally. The department denied a request yesterday by L.A. Times reporter Robert Lopez to release the Salazar files. Lopez said the files may answer questions surrounding Salazar’s death.

"We don’t really know why the deputy fired that 1-inch steel missile that was not to be used for situations in which there were people," Lopez said. "It was supposed to be used to pierce barricaded walls, for example."

Salazar was preparing to produce a television news report about police abuse in East L.A., Lopez said.

The LA County Sheriff initially denied his request because the records are confidential and the department doesn’t have the personnel to locate them.

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