Eddie Aubrey, an attorney with a law enforcement background was hired to be the city's first police auditor. But, he was unable to actually investigate police shootings, only review police reports about the shootings.
Despite the lack of power Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin told Action News the Fresno Police Officers Association told the city administration the position had to be eliminated before they accepted pay cuts. "That's true, that's been communicated from the FPOA to the city manager and coincidentally we've got a person leaving the position."
Gloria Hernandez is one of the community activists who wanted an Independent Police Auditor, or IPA. She sees the timing of Aubreys's departure as an unusual coincidence. "The Mayor wants a cut, The cops don't want to give it unless they get rid of the IPA, the IPA is gone, of course I'm suspicious."
Mayor Swearengin says there's no money in the budget to replace Aubrey, any time soon. "At some point we will, fill the position, our finances have to stabilize a bit and we have to find the right person for the job, and that takes awhile."
In the meantime, Hernandez says police shootings like the latest one two weeks ago at a shopping center at Peach and Belmont, should to be looked at by an outside agency. "I'm contacting the Feds on this last shooting, Angelo Fernandez, they shot him in the back, he was unarmed."
Police say Fernandez was wanted for questioning in a shooting. He was not killed and is in the Fresno County jail, charged only with drug possession.
Hernandez said, "I have suspicions I have suspicions they wanted him dead and I want to know why."
Without outside investigation, or even review of police shootings, questions like that may not be answered.
Until a new auditor is hired the Mayor is asking the District Attorney to help investigate police shootings.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer is not commenting on the auditor situation and nobody at the Fresno Police Officers association was available for comment.
With the auditor's departure, the Mayor is hoping the police union will accept a three per cent pay cut to help balance the city budget.