So here's a story that has been simmering at pretty much the rumor level for quite some time. It deals with Sierra Madre Police Officer Henry Amos and the shooting of what apparently was a napping unarmed civilian. And now, after an SMPD investigation of the incident, the Officer has been returned to duty.
Now if you go to Google News and type in "Henry Amos + Sierra Madre," exactly one story emerges, and that one ran in the then Mountain Views "Observer" on January 31 of this year. This is what the article had to say:
"The man, a 46 year old whose name has not been disclosed, was shot in the upper torso. At press time he was in stable condition. The name of the officer was also being withheld."
That was just about all the press had to offer on this matter, at least until yesterday. And now more than six months later the rest of the story can apparently be told. The Pasadena Star News ran an article yesterday entitled "Officer involved in Sierra Madre shooting incident is back on duty." And this is how they broke down the shooting:
The incident began about 3:30 a.m. Jan 30, when an officer discovered a Nissan Murano within the city that had been reported as stolen from Pacifica, sheriff's officials originally reported ... The officer had the Nissan towed back to a police garage at the police station in the 200 block of west Sierra Madre Avenue ... But when police officers opened up the hatchback of the SUV, they were surprised to find the suspect in the vehicle's cargo area, where he had been sleeping under a blanket ... The man, 46-year-old Jason Jensen, had been living in the car, which had been reported as stolen as a result of a civil dispute ... (Officer) Amos shot Jensen, striking him in the upper torso. He was taken to an area hospital, where he recovered. No charges were filed against Jensen in the incident.
Apparently an "internal administrative investigation" has been held, and the decision was made to return Amos to duty. But this article also goes on to state that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau is still conducting an investigation of their own, and if their findings indicate that this officer had not conducted himself in an appropriate way, "criminal charges will be filed against Amos."
Which does beg the following questions. If a police officer is being investigated by the L.A. County Sheriff's Homicide Bureau for shooting an unarmed civilian, and could be facing criminal arrest, should he have been allowed to return to duty? Before the far more significant investigation has been completed?
And exactly how will it look if Officer Amos is arrested by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department for this shooting after our Police Department had both cleared him and sent him back out onto our streets?
And what if, before the L.A. County Sheriff's investigation is concluded, something else happens involving this officer? Where exactly would that leave Sierra Madre?