Family lashing out at Minkler shootout report

FRESNO, Calif.

/*Joel Wahlenmaier*/ and Reedley Police Officer /*Javier Bejar*/ were killed when deputies tried to serve a search warrant in February of last year.

Wahlenmaier's sister-in-law told Action News the family was devastated by the independent review commissioned by the sheriff.

Barbie Turner said she and her sister Bev, Wahlenmaier's widow, haven't read the lengthy report but they are very hurt by some of the findings.

Turner said, "The sheriff's department is like a family and it feels like that family kind of blindsided you and slapped you in the face."

Turner said her sister is hurt by the report which questioned whether Wahlenmaier properly assessed the situation before busting through the door of Rick Liles' trailer.

Turner explained, "It's kind of easy to blame the person that can't defend themselves and that's kind of how we feel. They kind of threw his name under the bus."

On Wednesday the only person Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims blamed was the suspect /*Rick Liles*/. But she acknowledged some procedures were not followed properly.

Mims said, "Before the incident there was clearly a lack of attention paid by line staff, supervisor staff and management to the proper risk assessment."

Wahlenmaier's family felt suggestions Joel should have called for a SWAT team to serve a search warrant are unfair.

Turner said, "Joel did what he was supposed to and follow policy. Everybody said he was meticulous, almost annoyingly. We were told for 20 months he did nothing wrong and she was told that he did nothing wrong."

Turner said she hopes the department learns valuable lessons from the report to better protect officers in the field in the future.

Barbie Turner added the timing of this report couldn't have been worse for the family. It is preparing for the upcoming wedding of Joel Wahlenmaier's daughter Amy.

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