The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced it has declined to file charges against a Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board member who was accused of child endangerment in relation to a fight near Santa Monica High School.
The Santa Monica Police Department issued a statement that its investigation of the incident is complete after the district attorney decided not to charge school board member Oscar de la Torre. The city has authorized an outside entity to conduct an impartial review of the incident. Police spokesman Sgt. Jay Trisler, said that to ensure accountability for child safety, the police department conducted a four-month investigation of a fight involving two youths in which their personal safety was in danger and de la Torre was reportedly the only adult present.
De la Torre, who is also the executive director of the Pico Youth and Family Center, was accused of child endangerment for not immediately intervening in the fight. Neither of the youths was seriously hurt.
The school board member, who announced he plans to run for re-election in the fall, told reporters that he believes the allegations were politically motivated.
But police defended their investigation in the statement.
“The Santa Monica Police Department has a duty to protect the children of this community,” the statement said. “In this case, information was carefully and thoroughly investigated, which cumulated in the district attorney review.”
Trisler said that after police reviewed the case, normal procedures were followed including interviewing witnesses and obtaining a search warrant. A judge had determined that there was probable cause and issued a search warrant for police to obtain additional evidence, he said.
Police then presented the information to the district attorney’s office, which chose to not proceed with the charges.