Response to the Tulare County Grand Jury
1. Agree 2. Agree 3. Agree 4. Unknown to me 5. Unknown to me 6. Agree 7. Agree 8. Agree 9. Unknown to me 10. Agree 11. Unknown to me 12. Unknown to me 13. Unknown to me 14. Agree -I was asked by Lt. Carter and Sgt. Moore for the Range Masters personal training records. I declined to give these to them in order to protect the Officer's Peace Officer's rights. The District Attorney's Office could have obtained them but did not. Remember this was a criminal investigation not a civil proceeding. The Sheriffs Department had all other training documents that were provided to Sheriff's Office Investigators at the scene. 15. Disagree - As is consistent with your entire report, you left out an important word of the elements of P.C. 246.3. That word is "willful".
Having responded to items 1-15, I feel it is equally important I address all the flaws contained within your cheap novel and shed some truth on what really took place. This entire incident was nothing less than an ambush. Because of civil litigation by the injured party and City of Woodlake, I was not in a position to comment publicly of the incident. There is still a pending civil lawsuit against the Sheriff by a Woodlake Officer alleging violations of his civil rights. However, I believe the air needs to be cleared on a few issues. This entire incident was nothing less than an ambush by the Sheriff's Office to be used for political gain. Late in the evening of the incident, I was verbally briefed via cell phone by a
Captain, the source of the bullet was probably going to be kids with a 22 in the orchard. Reflecting back just a few days later, I know this was not the case and strongly believe a 40 caliber projectile had already been recovered from the victim, when this statement was made to me. Remember, when a Woodlake officer is involved in a shooting incident, our standing operating procedure is to call on the District Attorney to respond and investigate. By the Captain leading me to believe another party was responsible, the Sheriff could maintain control of the investigation. To this day after repeated requests, I have not received a copy of the investigation from the Sheriff, nor has the Sheriff returned 4 separate calls I made to him. After this incident occurred, there was absolutely no communication between the parties. When it became evidently clear to me, that there was no cooperation from the Sheriff, I approached the District Attorney to take over the investigation, so that we could get resolution of this incident. It was at this time the District Attorney told me his office had already reviewed the case and cleared the officers of any wrong doing. Yet I never received any updated briefings from the Sheriffs Office or returned calls from Mr. Wittman. When I did review a copy of the incident report which I obtained from the District Attorney, I was not surprised, but very disappointed in the lack of objectivity of the investigation. It was obvious, the agenda was to put Woodlake and specifically me in poor light. The Officer's decision not to talk to investigators the second time was their decision. They merely had nothing additional to add from their first statement they gave. Even Police Officers suspected in a crime are afforded the same rights as a criminal suspect, but in this incident they did give statements, they did surrender their weapons and they did show investigators the placement of the targets and described the course layout. What I find more interesting is the timing ofthe Grand Jury's inquiry. This matter was resolved in August 2009. Woodlake took responsibility for the incident and settled with Mr. Perryman. The D.A.'s office found no criminal wrong doing, but it was election time, and I am the candidate challenging the incumbent and "oh yes" the Grand Jury is comprised of three Sheriffs Office volunteers. Mr. Perryman also has a daughter working at the Sherriff's Office as a correctional officer. This Grand Jury improperly attempted to subpoena Woodlake Officers and personnel records just before the election for Sheriff. The City of Woodlake filed suit against the Grand Jury in April of 2010. Immediately the Perryman's filed a motion to intervene against Woodlake compelling us to honor the subpoenas. The matter then ends up in the Tulare County Superior Court in front of Judge Hicks. The Perryman's action is dismissed and thrown out of court. A week later the court ruled and quashed the subpoena served on Wo~dlake officer's and its
records, citing a federal protective order. The court in its written ruling said the Grand Jury could re-subpoena the officers for verbal testimony only. That has not happened, which clearly supports the agenda going on here. This Tulare County Grand Jury is alleging criminal wrong doing on the part of Woodlake Police and me as Police Chief of Woodlake, based on a May 8,
2009 Visalia Times Delta article, titled "Officials: Zapalac impeded probe." This was an article written by reporter Dave Castelone, whom I could not talk to because of pending litigation. Please note, officers have Peace Officer Bill of Rights that gives them the same rights as any criminal suspect, and I, even as their Chief, cannot compel them to talk in a criminal investigation. This Grand Jury is poisoned by hearsay coming from newspaper articles, Grand Jury members who are tainted with one sided information coming from the investigating agency and clearly is clueless as to what their roles are as Grand Jury members or the criminal investigative process used by law enforcement agencies. The incident report is an excellent example in where training and professionalism must be improved. Honesty, openness, and most important communication, from leadership is critical. This was clearly missing during this fiasco. The Grand Jury in its haste to put out trash did not even re-subpoena officer's to question them and get a complete and accurate picture of what took place. Ladies and gentleman of the Grand Jury, and the presiding judge, is this "Due Process?" In standard fashion, the biased conduct ofthis Grand Jury is clear and evidenced by it's own actions. You have embarrassed yourselves, you serve no legitimate purpose other than to go after political opponents and you have no credibility, shame on all of you. Respectfully,
<c)L:zL-06hn zapal61 ' Chief of Police City of Woodlake
Not printed at tax payer's expense.