H-SANTA MARIA

Jan 28, 2013 9:42 PM by Nikki Ibarra

One-year anniversary of controversial officer-involved shooting death of Albert Covarrubias Jr., police chief talks internal affairs investigation

Monday marks the one year anniversary of when Santa Maria police officer Albert Covarrubias Jr. was shot and killed, on duty, be a fellow officer at a DUI checkpoint.

Police said Covarrubias fired his gun, as two supervisors tries to arrest him on charges he had an alleged sexual relationship with a 17 year-old police explorer.

The shooting was followed by a no confidence vote against former police chief Danny Macagni, who resigned in August.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney decided the shooting was legally justified.

Current Police Chief Ralph Martin has been reviewing an internal affairs investigation.

The report is confidential, but Martin told KSBY's Nikki Ibarra it's full of interviews, photographs and witness statements.

"We have to know why this occured. We lost an officer on duty, killed by another officer in uniform. I mean, it's just not something you see," said Martin.

About 1700 pages, and over 100 hours of recorded interviews. "I'm going to look at this in their hour glass at that time, during that hour that they made that decision," added Martin.

The internal investigation began in April, after the police department called in two retired, internal affairs investigators to conduct the review. "Under the hundreds that I've read, you know, this one is certainly, you know, very tough to read," said Martin.

Martin said he will decide in about 2 weeks if any department policies were violated. "They made a decision to do that and their decision, they're going to have to, you know, look back on, you know, was it the right decision and that is the crux of the investigation. That is the decision I'm going to have to make when it's all done," added Martin.

If Martin decides to take any action against any officers involved in the Covarrubias case, under law, it won't be made public, unless the officer files an appeal.

KSBY reached out the attorneys for the Covarrubias family, as well as the police explorer's family, but we did not hear back.

In November, the city settled a $185,000 lawsuit with the police explorer, who accused the city of not protecting her.

Also, a Los Angeles watchdog group is also looking at whether everything leading up to the attempted arrest followed good police practice.

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