District Attorney Ravitch questions Attorney General’s decision not to investigate Pelaez-Chavez shooting by Sonoma County deputy

Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch has written to the California Attorney General asking why his office declined to investigate a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office deputy’s shooting of David Pelaez-Chavez in late July.

Ravitch wrote the letter on Sept. 7, and neither Attorney General Rob Bonta nor anyone from his agency has responded, she told The Press Democrat on Thursday.

Ravitch’s letter adds her voice to those questioning the attorney general’s response under a new state law that gave his office more power to investigate police shootings.

The shooting of Pelaez-Chavez by Deputy Michael Dietrick is being investigated by Santa Rosa Police. They will forward their findings to Ravitch’s office to see if criminal charges should be filed.

The attorney general in August declined to investigate the shooting, even though the law now requires the agency to investigate anytime law enforcement kills a person who is not armed with a deadly weapon.

But the attorney general’s investigator on the incident, named in Ravitch’s letter as Jamin Teague, found that Pelaez-Chavez was armed.

Pelaez Chavez was holding gardening tools, and, according to the Sheriff’s Office, reaching for a rock when Dietrick shot three times and killed him from a distance of 10 to 15 feet.

Ravitch’ letter sought documentation of the decision and further information about how the state agency determined Pelaez-Chavez was armed with a weapon that “might be considered deadly.”

“It would seem that any object in the physical possession of a decedent might qualify as a deadly weapon given the analysis in this matter,” Ravitch wrote, “regardless of whether being used to assault the officer.”

In a brief statement, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office said the agency was “still reviewing” Ravitch’s letter.

For weeks, the state agency‘s press office refused to answer questions about

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