Kern County leads the country in homicides by cops
December 3, 2015
Law 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.