California Department of Justice Releases Report on Officer-Involved Shooting of Joseph Thomas Tracy IV

Thursday, June 20, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta, pursuant to Assembly Bill 1506 (AB 1506), today released a report on Joseph Thomas Tracy IV’s death from an officer-involved shooting in Hemet, California, on January 18, 2022. The incident involved the Gang Impact Team of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, which includes officers from Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, Riverside Police Department, and Hemet Police Department. The report is part of the California Department of Justice's (DOJ) ongoing efforts to provide transparency and accountability in law enforcement practices. The report provides a detailed analysis of the incident and outlines DOJ's findings. After a thorough investigation, DOJ concluded that criminal charges were not appropriate in this case.

 "Loss of life is always a tragedy," said Attorney General Bonta. “We acknowledge that this incident posed challenges for all parties involved, including Mr. Tracy’s family, law enforcement, and the community. The California Department of Justice remains steadfast in our commitment to working together with all law enforcement partners to ensure an unbiased, transparent, and accountable legal system for every resident of California. AB 1506 is a critical transparency and accountability tool in our efforts to advance  a safer California for all.”  

On January 18, 2022, the Gang Impact Team of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office conducted surveillance on Mr. Tracy at a hotel in the City of Hemet. The team had information that Mr. Tracy was selling large quantities of fentanyl, was armed with a P80 handgun with a high-capacity magazine, and was staying at the hotel with an underage female. After attempts to lure Mr. Tracy out of the hotel room, Mr. Tracy saw the officers and fled. During the pursuit, officers shot and fatally wounded Mr. Tracy under the belief that he was armed and intended to shoot the officers. Mr. Tracy did possess a handgun, which he dropped during the pursuit and before the officer-involved shooting occurred, and the officers were unaware Mr. Tracy had dropped the gun.

Under AB 1506, which requires DOJ to investigate all incidents of officer-involved shootings resulting in the death of an unarmed civilian in the state, DOJ conducted a thorough investigation into this incident and concluded that the evidence does not show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the deputy involved acted without the intent to defend himself and others from what he reasonably believed to be imminent death or serious bodily injury. Therefore, there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution of the deputy. As such, no further action will be taken in this case.

A copy of the report can be found here.

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