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District attorney could file criminal charges in Covarrubias officer-involved shooting

Newschannel 3 has learned criminal charges could be filedin the Albert Covarrubias Jr. case. The Santa Maria police officer was shot and killed by his fellow officers last year.District Attorney Joyce Dudley revealed her office is looking into possible criminal charges just 24 hours after several officers involved in the shooting were fired and reprimanded.

Santa Maria police Chief Ralph Martin has come down hard on the managers and officers involved in the Albert Covarrubias Jr. case. “First of all the death of Officer Covarrubias was a tragedy for all of Santa Barbara County. I believe that Chief Ralph Martin was brought in for one purpose and one purpose only, which was justice,” said Dudley.

It has been more than a year since Santa Maria police officers attempted to arrest on-duty officer Albert Covarrubias Jr. at a DUI checkpoint. Covarrubias was suspected of having an illegal sexual relationship with one of the department’s Explorer scouts.

“The important thing is first to sit down with the chief, see what information he ascertained and then make a decision if there are any criminal implications. There may not be, there may be. If there are we’ll follow through,” said Dudley.

Because of the Police Officers Bill of Rights the city will not disclose the names of the officers affected by the chief’s decision. The officers involved will have 10 days to appeal his action.

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