County endorses park for teen shot by deputy 

click to enlarge parents of Andy Lopez
  • AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
  • Rodrigo Lopez, left, and Sujay Cruz, parents of Andy Lopez, leave after speaking at a news conference in San Francisco, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. The parents of a Northern California teen fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Officials in a San Francisco Bay Area county where a sheriff's deputy shot and killed a 13-year-old boy have endorsed work on a memorial park for the slain teen and voted to add lapel cameras to deputies' uniforms.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors supported the measures and other proposals intended to restore trust in law enforcement and local government in the wake of Andy Lopez's shooting at its meeting on Tuesday, The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa reported.

Lopez was shot and killed by Sonoma County sheriff's deputy Erick Gelhaus on Oct. 22 as the teen walked in a Santa Rosa neighborhood. Gelhaus told investigators he believed the BB gun Lopez was carrying was an assault rifle. There are no videos of the shooting.

The shooting has led to numerous protests in the mostly Latino community, including one on Tuesday outside a fundraiser for Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch. The District Attorney's Office will decide if Gelhaus should be charged criminally. Protesters say Gelhaus opened fire without ample warning and have demanded criminal charges.

In addition to the lapel cameras and park, supervisors on Tuesday also supported a community task force to study citizen oversight of law enforcement and launched an internal review of police training on the use of force, the Press Democrat reported. They also supported state legislation that would more closely regulate the look of BB, pellet and airsoft guns. The lapel cameras are estimated to cost about $250,000.

"This is about empowering a community and creating lasting change," Supervisor Efren Carrillo said.

About 150 protesters, including Lopez's parents, gathered outside Ravtich's fundraiser, according to the Press Democrat.

Ravitch said the case was still being investigated by the Santa Rosa police.

"You can't rush it," she said. "It's denying justice to rush the results."

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