Family of Luis Góngora Pat requests a meeting with D.A. George Gascón to discuss delay in case and his discourtesy

This letter was delivered to D.A. Gascón by email on May 3rd, a hard copy will delivered during the day.

May 3, 2018

District Attorney George Gascón
Offices of the District Attorney
850 Bryant Street, Rm. 322
San Francisco, CA, 94112

Ref.: Family of Luis Góngora Pat requests a meeting with D.A. Gascón to discuss delay in case and his discourtesy

District Attorney George Gascón,

I am Carlos Poot Pat, the cousin of Luis Góngora Pat, killed by Sgt. Nate Steger and Ofc. Michael Mellone of the San Francisco Police Department, on April 7, 2016. I am writing to remind you of two basic commitments you made to us during our first and only meeting on February 28, 2018:

First, you made a commitment to make a charging decision in my cousin’s case in “six to eight weeks maximum,” that is between April 11 and April 25.

Second, you made a commitment to invite the family to a meeting to explain and discuss your charging decision, before making it public; stating also that you would provide the family with the records of your investigation.

With regards to your first commitment, you failed to keep your word to us, and you lied. You lied to a room full of members of the press on April 11, when you denied making that timeline commitment to us. Since you allowed us to record our meeting, we have attached a partial transcript to refresh your memory on this point.

In any case, I am sure that you noticed my family and myself with our supporters holding a 15-day countdown, from April 11 to April 25, underneath your office window, on the steps of 850 Bryant, reminding you of your commitment. The appropriate response, on your part, would have been a courtesy call to notify us that you would not be making your decision by your own self-imposed deadline.

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In such a delicate case as the killing of a person by officers of the law, we expected a minimum of courtesy and attention from you. You are now a week delayed from the maximum date you said it would take to make a decision, and you still have not communicated with us. We ask that you please call us, as soon as possible, to invite us to your office to discuss this delay.

The fact that you have not done so out of your own accord is already of great concern to us. We have waited over 2 years for your office to act, only to receive this deplorable treatment on your part. Are you so blind to the suffering of families hurt by police that you would not think to reach out? Have you forgotten that you serve us too? Or is this ill treatment reserved for us, a hardworking Mayan indigenous family?

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On April 25, having not heard a word from your office, we invited community members to hold a 24 hour vigil for the 24 people killed by SFPD with no charges during your time in office. Concerned by your record, we—a broad range of community members—chose to remind the public that you have never pressed charges in any officer-involved shooting case. But our intention was not only to highlight your record of upholding police impunity; that would be counter to our objective. We are asking you to change your tune. You still have a chance to do the right thing in the pending cases of murder by SFPD, including my cousin’s.

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You often mention that the law makes it difficult (not impossible) to charge killer cops. When you asked for a $1.5 million dollar budget to establish an independent bureau of investigations into police misconduct (including homicide) the law was already as it is today. You argued in favor of the creation of this bureau to the Board of Supervisors as a way to increase police accountability. We’re holding you accountable to that promise and to the expectation you created, when you asked for that large sum for that purpose. When the time comes, we will be asking you how you used the resources of the bureau to reach your charging decision in my cousin’s, Luis’s, case. Please do not short-change justice for my family. Use those especially allocated resources at your disposal.

My second purpose in writing is to remind you of your other commitment. We do not want to be blindsided with a public announcement of your charging decision by another breach of your word. You said: “We invite them [the family] to come here, and before we make our findings public, we explain our findings and the rationale behind the findings, and we will do so in this case.” Our partial transcript of our meeting will also refresh your memory on this second point. At the meeting we provided contact information for ourselves and our lawyer Adante Pointer. We are still waiting to hear from you.

Finally, I am forced to remind you, District Attorney Gascón, that you are our criminal attorney, the People’s Lawyer, in the homicide of Luis Góngora Pat by SFPD officers. You serve us, and it is your job to seek justice for his killing on our behalf. Anything else would be a dereliction of your duties.

D.A. Gascón, you should be a hero; find the courage to be the people’s champ.

We also hope that you’ll start treating families hurt by police violence with better standards. We wait for your call.

Sincerely,

Carlos Poot Pat                               with Luis Poot Pat                           and José Góngora Pat, cousins and brother of Luis Góngora Pat, a Mayan man unjustly murdered by SFPD

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PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT OF FEBRUARY 28th MEETING

The full recording can be found at: https://justice4luis.org/2018/03/07/report-back-recording-meeting-da-02282018

DISTRICT ATTORNEY GASCÓN STATED THAT HE WOULD MAKE A CHARGING DECISION MAXIMUM BY APRIL 25TH

Minute 43:25 Camarena:               “So when can we expect you to issue a decision, more or less, like in an approximate time that you are thinking about?”

Minute 43:30 Gascón:                    “We’re…We’re weeks away not months. So, probably, I would say, no more than six to eight weeks maximum.”

DISTRICT ATTORNEY GASCÓN PROMISED THE FAMILY HE WOULD INVITE THEM TO A MEETING TO EXPLAIN HIS CHARGING DECISION PRIOR TO MAKING A PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT

Minute 43:45 Camarena:               “So, this will pretty much put us into the second anniversary of the shooting. And will you have the courtesy of meeting again with the family and informing them of the progress in the case?”

Minute 43:58 Gascón:                     “We always…We always, as we will in this case, notify the family or their attorneys, however, the family wants to be contacted. We invite them to come here, and before we make our findings public, we explain our findings and the rationale behind the findings, and we will do so in this case.”

Minute 44:19 Camarena:               “Would you agree to have an update meeting say, 2 weeks from now, or…”

Minute 44:24 Gascón:                    “No. No because we are so close to… Because what we are doing by…This is taking time away from the work, which is totally reasonable…”

Minute: 44:35 Camarena:              “So now we’re interrupting your work after 2 years, almost 2 years since Luis died and you haven’t given one report to the family?”

Minute 44:43 Gascón:                     “What we’re saying is that we are almost finished, and we’re going to bring you over, if you want to come over, and we’ll walk you through the investigation and our findings.”

Minute 44:53 Luis Poot Pat:          [in Spanish. Tengo una pregunta. ¿Cree usted que podamos tener una reunión con usted antes de que tenga que salir a decir algo del caso de mi primo? Para poder prevenir a la familia.] “I have a question. Do you think that we can have a meeting with you before you have to go out to say something about my cousin’s case? So that we can provide advance notice to the family.”

Minute 45:05 Gascón:                     [in Spanish, “Sí, señor.”] Yes, sir. … [Repeats his commitment in Spanish to invite the family to a meeting with their lawyer prior to him making his decision public.]

 

Email c.c. was sent to Robyn Burke (DA), Marisa Rodriguez (DA); Luis Poot Pat (family); Adante Pointer (family lawyer); Francisco Rivera (SCULAW), Elena Applebaum (SCULAW), Daniel Williams (SCULAW); Deputy Consul Guillermo Reyes Castro; Consul for Legal Affairs Wilma Gandoy; Adriana Camarena (Justice4Luis)

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