Demand San Leandro Leaders Write New Letter to Attorney General- Justice for Steven Taylor

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On April 18, 2020, Steven Taylor was murdered by San Leandro police during a mental health crisis. The city has been dragging its feet on their internal investigation, and their request to CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra for an independent investigation is not a real request at all, showing their disregard for justice and for the Taylor Family. Help us pass this message along to San Leandro leadership and demand a new letter be written!

ATTN: San Leandro City Manager Jeff Kay 

CC: Police Chief Jeff Tudor, Mayor Pauline Cutter, and San Leandro City Council

It is with frustration and disappointment in our city’s leadership that we write this letter. 

On June 1, 2020, the San Leandro City Council made a motion for you, the City Manager, to request that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra complete an independent investigation into the officer-involved shooting of Steven Taylor on April 18th. Despite calls from the community following this action, the letter was not shared with the community until July 2, 2020, and only after a personal request in a private meeting with Mayor Cutter. 

The first major issue with this process is the lack of transparency. The letter should have been immediately shared with your constituents as well as the Taylor family, either on the city website or read aloud in a City Council meeting. 

The second major issue is the content of the letter itself. In an interview with KTVU news, Mayor Cutter expressed that she hopes this letter will “instill trust back into the community.” We can assure you that is not the case. This letter does not request that AG Becerra investigate the death of Steven Taylor; rather, it asks only for “direction and guidance.” The letter states the City only wants to know what the process of an AG investigation entails and whether or not this case “warrants an independent investigation by the Office of the Attorney General, Department of Justice.” The letter states, “[g]iven that local investigations of the OIS are not yet concluded, could you preliminarily provide information regarding the policies, procedures, or protocols that would be employed in a potential independent investigation by your office into this incident?” This language does not demonstrate intent on the part of the City’ to have this case independently investigated. The letter itself, as well as the portrayal of the letter as a request for investigation, are a betrayal to the Taylor family and the community. 

With these issues in mind, we demand:

- A new letter must be written to the Attorney General with an explicit request for an independent investigation. 
- This letter needs to remind AG Becerra of California Assembly Bill 392, which mandates that officers must use lethal force only when "necessary" as opposed to the previous standard of "objectively reasonable." It is important that San Leandro leaders are clear in their expectation that he will uphold this standard by investigating the shooting of Steven Taylor––an unarmed citizen suffering a mental health crisis. 
- The City Attorney must be included in this process to ensure the language in the letter is appropriate and explicit. 

We expect a response from the City Manager within 24 hours to ensure that a new letter is drafted and sent as soon as possible.