City investigating LPD for possible open records violation
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock city leaders launched an investigation on Tuesday after documents obtained through an open records request revealed that Lubbock police deleted an arrest report involving Christian Castro, who was named a person of interest in the Mark Ysasaga murder investigation.
City Manager James Loomis has ordered an administrative investigation into this possible open records violation. The investigation is ongoing, but Loomis assures the public that the city is using all available means to conduct it.
Loomis says the city is reviewing open records training for all of its employees.
The open records request was made on June 8, and the request to delete the report was made the following day. KCBD obtained an email on Monday that LPD sergeant Mark Watkins sent to public records department.
The email referred to the arrest record for Castro. It read, "Please delete this report. The charges were dropped by the district attorney's office prior to the arrestee being placed in jail."
Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson wants the city council to discuss the procedures taken by the police department and address any allegations of wrongdoing at its next meeting on July 23.
On her Facebook page, Ysasaga's mother, Anna Ysasaga-Cuevas, requested the family's supporters to attend the meeting. She says it's time for the city to turn the investigation over to the Texas Rangers or FBI.
Councilman Victor Hernandez released this statement on Tuesday night:
"The citizens of Lubbock deserve a police department that is free of suspicion in the way it handles criminal investigations and its' personnel decisions. The men and women of the Lubbock Police Department deserve to be part of an organization that the public deems credible and reliable.
"The criminal investigations involving Mark Anthony Ysasaga, Zoe Campos, Glen Robertson and others; as well as the 'demotion' of Police Chief Roger Ellis, the reassignment of Assistant Chief James Shavers from investigations to patrol, and the current investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division (which accuses the City of Lubbock of discriminatory hiring practices) are but a few of the issues which have surfaced recently. In addition, complaints filed with the police department's internal affairs department as well as the City of Lubbock's human resources department are bringing into question whether or not the Lubbock Police Department can investigate itself.
"As such, I think it prudent to hire as Interim Police Chief, a person that is currently outside of the current command and control staff. It is for these reasons that I cannot support the City Manager's choice.
"In addition, I believe the Lubbock Police Department's protocols and past actions, need to be reviewed by an outside agency in order to ferret out all issues, singular or systemic, which have led us to this point."
"Of paramount importance to me, is that the citizens of Lubbock regain the confidence in their police department. In order to achieve this goal, the City of Lubbock must be transparent. Equally important, the City of Lubbock needs to promptly identify all problem areas, find solutions that can be implemented quickly and hopefully, start the process of rebuilding the public's trust."
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