Group to launch recall effort against San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan

Posted at 5:50 PM, Oct 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-16 20:50:51-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A coalition of groups protesting how law enforcement officers use force says it plans to launch a recall effort against San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan in 2019.

"You're going to see us all over this county," said Oletha Wade-Matthews. "We're not going anywhere until we see justice, or get you out of office."

Around one dozen people gathered Downtown Tuesday to speak at a San Diego City Council meeting, then hold a press conference. They pointed to several deaths which have occurred this year in law enforcement custody, including Earl McNeil earlier this year, and Vito Vitale and Jason Watts in the first three weeks of October.

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The protestors say it's critical to have more PERT (psychological emergency response team) crews available to advise officers on how to apprehend suspects who are either on drugs or suffering from mental illness.

In Vitale's case, they criticized officers for holding Vitale down.

"There has to be medical doctors that will tell you when someone is high on drugs, when someone is having a mental crisis. When you put three, four, five bodies on top of them it will cause them to stop breathing," said Tasha Williamson of the group Justice for Earl McNeil.

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The San Diego Police Department tells 10News it is still investigating Vitale's cause of death. The Chula Vista Police Department says it is in the early stages of its investigation into Watts' death.

In September, Stephan announced her office would not charge any officers in the death of McNeil, saying there was no direct link between officers' actions and McNeil's death, as well as no intent to kill McNeil.

10News reached out to Stephan's office after the announcement of the recall effort but has not heard back.

RELATED: Chula Vista assault suspect, Jason Watts, dies after arrest