By Michael G. Stogner
“Ms. Harmon fired the shotgun multiple times at the deputy,“
Yesterday while reading the Background I noticed the words Multiple Times were used and I sent an e-mail to the HMB City Leaders and Managers advising them that I had not seen those two words ever used to describe the Sandra L. Harmon Homicide. I recommended they verify the source of Multiple Times and correct ASAP so as to Not Mislead the Public with inaccurate information.
The Shotgun could fire only 1 shot at a time. That would be some accomplishment for her to fire multiple times. What time did she fire the Shotgun? That has never been answered.
I hope they will be able to add these other facts at the beginning of the meeting to balance this presentation.
They also chose to leave out a few Important Facts like the San Mateo County Coroners Report Dated June 12, 2020. She was shot 8 times.
Manner of Death to be Homicide.
Sandra L. Harmon was Fatally Shot Three Times in the BACK.
Sandra L. Harmon was Shot at 5 times while she was Unarmed with her hand up.
Those Facts are not mentioned by the Sheriff”Office, The District Attorney’s Office, The City of Half Moon Bay, or local Newspapers.
ZOOM MEETING 6PM Tomorrow night.
BUSINESS OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF HALF MOON BAY AGENDA REPORT
For meeting of: September 15, 2020
TO: Honorable Mayor and City Council
VIA: Bob Nisbet, City Manager
From: Matthew Chidester, Deputy City Manager
TITLE: DISCUSSION WITH THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY REGARDING THE MAY 5, 2020 OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING IN HALF MOON BAY
Receive a report and discuss the investigation of the District Attorney of the May 5, 2020 shooting of Sandra Harmon in Half Moon Bay by Sheriff’s Deputies.
This discussion supports the Healthy Communities and Public Safety and Inclusive Governanceelements of the Strategic Plan.
Since 2011, the City of Half Moon Bay has contracted with the San Mateo County sheriff’sOffice for law enforcement services. On the evening of May 5, 2020, Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call regarding a woman, later identified as Sandra Harmon, who was walking through downtown Half Moon Bay carrying a shotgun and alcohol, and claiming thatthere was going to be a “race war”. According to reports, after interviewing a witness on Main Street, a deputy tracked the lead to a parking lot on the corner of Main Street and Monte Vista Lane, where he was able to make contact with Ms. Harmon. Following a brief verbal exchange, Ms. Harmon fired the shotgun multiple times at the deputy, who returned gunfire. A second deputy arrived on the scene shortly thereafter, and after verbal commands were ignored, Ms. Harmon again reached for her shotgun, which was at that point laying on the ground. Both deputies opened fire and Ms. Harmon was hit several times and died shortly thereafter.
The current practice in San Mateo County is that anytime a member of the public is injured bylaw enforcement, the District Attorney’s office immediately takes over investigation. Althoughsome details of the incident were initially shared with the public, including body-camera footage, the DA maintains confidentiality of most of the investigation materials until completion, and if charges are pressed, through the trail, in order to maintain the integrity of the investigation and prosecution, if necessary.
On August 28, 2020, the District Attorney, Stephen Wagstaffe, issued a letter to the Sheriff detailing the process and findings of the investigation of the shooting of Sandra Harmon (attached to this Staff Report). In the letter, Mr. Wagstaffe concludes that the deputy’s use of
deadly force in this incident was lawful, and that the District Attorney’s office will take nofurther action. On August 28, the DA’s office also provided a press release to the same effect and made the investigation materials available to interested parties.
Several members of the community have expressed concerns about the details and conclusionof the District Attorney’s investigation. The District Attorney has offered to participate in adiscussion with the City Council on the investigation, and answer questions from the Council and general public. On September 15, 2020, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe will participate in the regular meeting of the Half Moon Bay City Council for this purpose.
Due to recent events in the nation as well as the Coastside community, the City is taking severalsteps to better understand the relationship between the Sheriff’s Office and the community,the policies and practices that the Sheriff currently has in place, and the contract between the City and County. A public Safety City Council subcommittee has been convened which is working with staff to develop a white paper study to explore several areas of law enforcement in Half Moon Bay, and staff are also facilitating community discussions on law enforcement on the Coastside. The purpose of this work is to develop recommendations and potential changesto the City’s contract with the County, which expires on June 30, 2022, aimed towardsimproving relations between law enforcement and the community, as well as hopefully preventing the types of tragedies experienced across the country and in recent years, within our own community. The discussion with the District Attorney will help provide additional information and clarity in these efforts.
Letter dated August 28, 2020 from the District Attorney to Sheriff Carlos Bolanos regarding the Officer Involved Shooting on May 5, 2020.