Both sides in the Pete Joseph Valdez III case await police video
– if it exists.
The attorney for Pete Joseph Valdez III, the man accused of trying to shoot a Gilroy police officer in the face before his gun malfunctioned, told a judge Tuesday that he still awaits potential police video footage.
Both sides said they were “informally” resolving the discovery issue with the Gilroy Police Department and agreed to return to the South County Courthouse in San Martin Aug. 19. Since December 2007, Valdez’s attorney, Berndt Ingo Brauer, has petitioned the district attorney’s office for any relevant video evidence and communication records kept by GPD related to Valdez’s arrest last November.
Superior Court Judge Hector E. Ramon ordered GPD to preserve all electronic information in May, but confusion has centered around inoperable and nonexistent cameras and possibly irrecoverable records. Two of the four patrol cars that responded to the incident last winter had a camera, but the technology has since failed. On top of this, the relevant video archives may have been corrupted during the belated move from the old police station to the new one, according to an e-mail Public Safety Systems Administrator Steve Baty sent to GPD Sgt. Jim Gillio in February.
“I have sent an e-mail to the involved officers to determine if their cameras were even working. If they were working, it looks like we will have an issue getting the video,” Gillio wrote in an e-mail to Deputy District Attorney Mark Hood on behalf of Brauer, Valdez’s attorney. Gillio said earlier this month that the department is in the process of recovering those videos dating back to failed video system that the department is currently replacing.
Among a laundry list of requests before the preliminary hearing can take place, Brauer has included the operation and maintenance histories of the department’s cameras, permission to inspect the relevant vehicles and the hard drive that stored any potential videos along with the upkeep log for the storage device.
Valdez, 29, faces felony charges of attempted murder of a police officer, assault of a police officer with a firearm, being a felon in possession of a gun, and delaying or resisting a police officer. If convicted of these charges Valdez, who has been denied bail, would spend the rest of his life in prison.
About 3 a.m. Nov. 15, Gilroy police officer John Ballard – who did not have a camera in his car, according to Sgt. Gillio – noticed Valdez biking east on W. Eighth Street without a headlight and on the wrong side of the road, police said. When Ballard tried to stop him, Valdez took off.
Ballard caught up with Valdez a few blocks later and a foot chase ensued, police said. During the pursuit, Valdez punched and kicked the officer, then pulled a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun loaded with seven hollow-point bullets. Valdez aimed the gun at Ballard’s face and repeatedly pulled the trigger, but the gun jammed and did not fire.
Ballard resumed fighting with Valdez while another officer arrived and helped subdue and arrest Valdez. In an interview after the incident, Valdez said he pulled the gun in hopes that an officer would shoot and kill him.
“I don’t want to live,” said a crying Valdez after he was apprehended, according to court records.
Valdez – the son of former 16-year Gilroy councilman Pete Valdez Jr. – has 10 prior convictions including three felony convictions for a strong-arm robbery.