The new chief of the Bakersfield (CA) Police Department has asked the FBI to review the case of a 73-year-old man with early dementia who was shot and killed by an officer just steps from his home last week.
Chief Lyle Martin has requested an examination of “the facts and evidence” surrounding the death of Francisco Serna “to increase transparency and trust within our community.” The FBI investigation will be independent of probes now underway by the department and the Kern County district attorney’s office.
The request comes amid public criticism of the department and demands by the Serna family to open state and federal investigations into the killing, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The shooting occurred around 12:40 a.m. on Dec. 12 in the Southwest Bakersfield neighborhood. Just prior to the shooting, a neighbor had called 911 to report that a man had flashed a gun at his wife and her friend, Martin told reporters last week.
Serna was shot and killed by a responding officer when he would not remove his hand from his pocket. Inside the pocket was a wooden object that police report was a crucifix. No weapon was found on Serna.