This is an Op-Ed by David Eblovi.
Here is what I would tell you if you were of a mind to listen.
I would show you a photograph, one of several, showing a 56-year-old woman being shot fatally in the back with her hands raised above her head. If you were interested we could go through the images, taken at 30 frames per second and unintentionally released in full resolution by the district attorney’s office. If we did, you would see that after she has already been fatally wounded and her gun is on the ground, as her arms are still in the air and her back is still toward the deputy doing the shooting, he takes one last shot at her.
We can see these things in such detail only because, in the process of releasing the case material to the public, an individual working for the DA’s office released a full-resolution video copy of the incident instead of the much less clear version released previously on June 19 in an attempt to conceal the truth from the public.
Yet those aren’t the only things I can show you. There is an image of three 9mm shell casings taken from the body-cam videos. Casings that disappeared (and then reappeared elsewhere) in the crime-scene photographs taken roughly an hour or two later. And, no, let me stop you there. They were not “inadvertently moved” by first responders as one of them is under a two-by-four board and next to a parking bollard.
Then we can go look at a 9mm bullet hole in the building directly adjacent to the crime scene that is still there for anyone to go look at if they are so disposed. That hole, and the 9mm casings, speak to an entirely different story than that put forward by the Sheriff’s Office and the DA. That probably explains why none of them appear in the official report on the shooting.
The casings and bullet hole were there because the deputy in question fired at Sandra Harmon first, from just behind the RV where all this happened. They were moved to hide the truth of what happened from public view.
I can also show you a detailed timeline, both the version that they propose (which does not work) and the actual one, where Harmon does not fire until she has already had three rounds fired at her.
What no one can show you is the body camera footage or even the log files for the deputy’s two camera systems because the DA and Sheriff say they A.) don’t exist and B.) they don’t have to release them anyway.
Last week the Half Moon Bay City Council did a noble thing, voting unanimously to forward the matter to the California attorney general for review. Many probably thought the fight for the truth was over at that point.
But the AG rejects the vast majority of referrals for being beneath their attention. Yet if the manslaughter of a private person with mental health issues isn’t enough to get that attention then what is, you ask.
Here’s the problem: The city is moving quickly to put a draft of the letter in front of the Public Safety Subcommittee tonight — the day you are probably reading this — so members can approve it and send it on its way to the AG. The letter will go without any of the evidence I have detailed above.
Call me silly, but I’d like to think of Half Moon Bay as a place where you cannot kill someone illegally without being held to account. No matter who you are. So far, the Sheriff’s Office and the DA’s office have worked effectively and with great intent to keep the facts of what happened here on May 5 from the public. Were it not for a few slip-ups, they probably would have succeeded.
It’s up to the people who live here in Half Moon Bay to decide whether we are going to sit idly by and let this travesty pass like so many others, or stand and say, “No more, not in my city. This must stop.”
I will be forwarding the information I described above, and much more, to the AG, hopefully as an appendix or attachment to the letter that is sent to the AG, but, if not, as a stand-alone packet from me personally as a citizen. Hats off to the council and specifically to Mayor Adam Eisen for getting the DA to come visit us, setting up this unprecedented (for us) chain of events in an attempt to hold our law enforcement agencies accountable for their actions.
David Eblovi is a resident of Half Moon Bay.
All San Mateo County Residents should be thanking the Ebloivi family for this work they have done.