HOLTVILLE — The Imperial County Sheriff’s Office did not conduct an internal review regarding its deputy’s actions during a violent November 2018 encounter in Holtville that resulted in a man recently being convicted of assaulting the deputy, a senior agency official said.
“This was a very violent
attack on our officer. There really is no room for anything else” other than
criminal action against the subject, Sheriff’s Lt. Jimmy Duran said.
However, in an interview
days after the incident Sheriff Raymond Loera stated otherwise.
“Absolutely. Not to
penalize anyone. What steps can be taken to prevent something (like this)? But
you do this job and you know there are uncertainties,” Loera said when asked if
there would be an internal investigation.
According to Sheriff’s
logs, court records and interviews, Alex Padilla, 39, of Holtville, attacked
and seriously injured Deputy Miguel Calderon after Calderon approached Padilla
at the intersection of Ninth Street and Orange Avenue in Holtville about 9 p.m.
on Nov. 28, 2018. The deputy reported he was conducting a “pedestrian check,” a
Calderon suffered head
injuries and was flown to an out-of-area hospital where he was treated and
released within hours.
Padilla was charged with
assaulting Calderon, wresting away the deputy’s gun and firing at him before
fleeing in Calderon’s patrol car. He was arrested a short time later inside a
church packed with evening worshippers.
A Superior Court jury on
Jan. 28 convicted Padilla of multiple felonies. He faces 45 years to life or
more at a March 19 sentencing.
The fact that the deputy
was injured and Padilla was not played a role in how the matter was handled
internally by the Sheriff’s Office, Duran explained.
“Usually we engage in
that (an internal investigation of the officer’s actions) when there is an
officer shooting, or a (suspect’s) bone is broken. In this case the officer was
violently attacked,” he said.
Commenting in the interview
after the incident on whether the results of any internal investigation would
be made public, Loera said, “At some point we may be able to release it. I
would comfortable doing that as long as it can be done within the laws
regarding that situation. It’s serious. One of our deputies was injured. We
really don’t want to make any quick judgment.”
Meanwhile, the deputy is
still recovering and wishes to speak publicly about the matter, Duran added.
“He is still
suffering from the injury. We have him on modified duty. After the sentencing
on March 19 he wants to talk about it,” Duran said, explaining the deputy would
address written questions submitted in advance by the media.