Eight boxes of files on the slain journalist. Photo: Robert J. Lopez

Sheriff Agrees to Limited Viewing of Ruben Salazar Files

In 1994, I filed my first California Public Records Act Request to review the Sheriff’s Department files on Ruben Salazar. The department denied the request, saying the records were confidential law enforcement files. I made another CPRA request in 1995. It, too, was denied. Then in early 2010, as the 40th anniversary of Salazar’s slaying approached, I filed another request with Sheriff Lee Baca. He refused to release the files.

Documents – View FBI and LAPD Records on Ruben Salazar

I produced several reports and a video after Baca’s denial, which sparked an outcry from members of the Salazar family, activists, journalists and elected officials — all of whom said it was time for the department to come clean on the case and release its records. Finally, in late February 2011, Baca agreed to allow a limited viewing of the once-secret records by journalists and academics.

So far, the Sheriff’s Department has granted me one four-hour session to examine the eight boxes filled with thousands of pages of homicide-investigation reports, photos and witness statements. Poring over the files was a powerful experience and a fascinating step back into a tragic chapter of Los Angeles history.

The files contain previously confidential material. Photo: Robert J. Lopez

I’m currently awaiting another appointment to inspect the records. Once I examine all the records, I will be preparing a report. In the meantime, below are are two recent related reports I wrote that were published in The Times. The first article, which deals with a civilian watchdog agency report on the records, appeared on the front page of our Sunday edition. Baca ordered the report in August 2010 after I wrote about his initial denial to release the records. The second article deals was written after Baca told us he would unseal the records.

No Evidence Ruben Salazar Was Targeted, Report Says
Baca Will Unseal Salazar Files, Allow Limited Viewing