Kern County leads the country in homicides by cops

December 3, 2015

handgunLaw enforcement officers in Kern County have killed more people per capita than in any other county in the United States this year. Kern County officers killed 13 people in 2015. [Guardian]

By comparison, NYPD officers killed nine people across the five counties of New York City. Kern County has a population of 875,000, while New York City has a population of nearly 10 times that.

One senior Bakersfield police officer has been involved in at least four deadly shootings in less than two years. None of the four men killed were carrying deadly firearms at the time. One had a BB gun and another had a tire iron.

Witnesses said the senior officer shot 22-year-old James De La Rosa after he exited his car with his hands up and outstretched and saying, “What’s up?” and “I’m here. Come arrest me.”

Officers claimed De La Rosa was reaching for his waistband, but he was not carrying a weapon at the time.

Another officer shot and killed three people within two months in 2010. Six people died this year as a result of shots fired just by Bakersfield police officers.

Over the last decade, there were 54 fatal shootings by Bakersfield police and Kern County sheriff’s deputies. At least 49 of the shootings were publicly ruled justified by panels of senior officers who were members of the same departments as the officers who fired the shots.

Rick Wimbish, the senior Bakersfield officer who was involved in four deadly shootings over the last two years, instructs other officers and leads educational classes for young children in the county about the role of police in the community. Wimbish receives nearly $200,000 a year in total pay.

Other officers in Kern County have also been involved in deadly beatings of unarmed men, sex crimes against women and reckless car crashes, which have resulted in criminal convictions.

“They have some fine officers here, but unfortunately they have some bullies and thugs who often run the show,” said Henry Mosier, who worked as a public defender for a decade before recently retiring.


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14 Comments

  1. Jorge Estrada says:

    And for a good reason, glad to hear that law enforcement is doing their job.

    (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  2. hotdog says:

    I had two incidents with LE in Bakersfield, Kern county.

    One I was the victim of an assault. I called the cops, they showed up an hour later. I pointed out the house the suspect was in. They knocked at the door and a resident said the assailant wasn’t there. They came back to me and said “What are we supposed to do”? Lame idiots.

    Another time I had a threat from someone. I called the cops about 3 pm, they said they would send someone out. By midnight I gave up and went to sleep. At 3 am there was pounding on my door and lights weaving around the front yard. I jerked open the front door thinking the threat was coming true and was cofronted by four armed (guns drawn on me) cops. They admonished me for opening my door in such a threatening way and told me I almost got shot.
    When I reported this outrage to the cop station I was shined on.

    Fucking bums. I have no doubt the good old boys club of boys in blue gave a pass to all those killings as reported in this article. I have little confidence in any cops these days. The spate of murders by cops as evidenced in all the videos makes it clear.

    Some of our own cops, especially at the top, are rotten. Lisa Solomon of Paso, Gissel of SLO. Some of our slo county sheriffs in the past have pulled off amazing feats of crime, and walked. They all walk. We spit on the sidewalk and go to jail, those sworn to protect and enforce the law seem to be immune from any normal consequences when they violate the public trust. It’s scandalous.

    (5) 13 Total Votes - 9 up - 4 down
  3. Gordo says:

    What is the violent crime rate per capita for Kern County compared to the rest of the nation?
    That number would probably explain why police officers shoot so many people over there.

    (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
  4. OldNed says:

    You really used “homicides” in the headline of your article? Homicide is the “unlawful killing” of a person. But your article says that 49 of 54 killings were found to be justified. So does Kern County lead in “homicides” or does it lead in officer-involved killings?

    (4) 16 Total Votes - 10 up - 6 down
    • JTKirk says:

      You’re wrong. Homicide can be excusable or justified under certain no-fault or defense situations. See Penal Code 195, et seq. The word homicide is properly used here.

      (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
      • OldNed says:

        No, you’re wrong. Homicide is the unlawful taking of life. It can be excused or justified under section 195 as you said. However, that section says:

        195. Homicide is excusable in the following cases:
        1. When committed by accident and misfortune, or in doing any other lawful act by lawful means, with usual and ordinary caution, and without any unlawful intent.
        2. When committed by accident and misfortune, in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation, or upon a sudden combat, when no undue advantage is taken, nor any dangerous weapon used, and when the killing is not done in a cruel or unusual manner.

        Section 195 provides an affirmative defense to a charge of homicide. The article says nothing about any of the officers being charged with homicide. For further proof that this is not “homicide,” read Penal Code sections 187 and 189.5.

        (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  5. shelworth says:

    Even though it’s not a firearm, I’m pretty sure a tire iron is a deadly weapon.

    (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down
  6. Side_Show_Bob says:

    Apparently there’s a high number of people that need killing in Kern County.

    Is this the beginning of #kernlivesmatter? Will Kern County residents now demand their “safe space?”

    We need a new cause.

    (8) 28 Total Votes - 18 up - 10 down
  7. JTKirk says:

    Thank you, Kern LE community, for aggressively protecting.

    (7) 37 Total Votes - 22 up - 15 down
    • Francesca Bolognini says:

      I would not exactly classify fatally shooting unarmed citizens “protecting”. I would also not classify their apparent forms of investigations as third party objectivism. When brutality is allowed to exist within LE, it casts negative aspersions on the whole force, most of which (one hopes) are dedicated and decent individuals attempting to do a sometimes dangerous job, often under difficult circumstances. It also makes the area sound like a pretty crappy place to live, reflecting that it is either that lawless, that over enfourced or both. In any case, dangerous and unappealing. And how does that reflect upon our state? When proper rule of law is not followed, we all suffer.

      (5) 21 Total Votes - 13 up - 8 down
      • shelworth says:

        No mater what your political leanings you have to admit that of all those killed by police, not even one ever committed another crime.

        (-5) 9 Total Votes - 2 up - 7 down
  8. joseywales says:

    Rednecks dumb as a post – we should not expect civil results.

    (-5) 27 Total Votes - 11 up - 16 down
    • Shocked in MB says:

      Spoken like a true Central Coast liberal who thinks that they are better than everyone else. Try living in the Central Valley and meet some people who are down to earth and also have a work ethic that most people over here would never understand.

      (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down

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