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Lauren Coughlin, Editor
1:41 pm PDT August 20, 2019

With the investigation into the July 26 deputy-involved shooting in Malibu still underway, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has declined a California Public Records Act request from the Malibu Surfside News seeking footage and reports related to the incident. 

The Office of the Sheriff initially requested an extension of up to 14 days on Aug. 8 “to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the request.” 

On Aug. 20, the Surfside received the second response to its California Public Records request for any footage (bodycam, audio calls, report) related to the incident. 

“Unfortunately, we are unable to provide the requested recording. Since [the requested materials are] considered part of an investigatory file, it is discretionary as to whether it can be released,” the Aug. 20 letter from the Office of the Sheriff states. “Crime reports and reports of investigation conducted by the Sheriff’s Department are exempt from disclosure under the State of California Public Records Act under Government Code 6254 (f).”

Malibu/Lost Hills police fired two bullets during the incident in the 28000 block of Bison Court, with one bullet striking the torso of Timothy Reeves Neal, who has since been charged with four counts of assault upon a peace officer, among other felony charges. Police stated that Reeves Neal, 32, approached officers with “two large kitchen knives” in his hands, and attempts to tase him reportedly were unsuccessful. 

Reeves Neal pleaded not guilty to all charges on Aug. 9, and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 21 in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Deputy-involved shootings are investigated by the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau and Internal Affairs Bureau, according to the police department. The Office of the Inspector General also provides independent oversight in the investigative process, and the shooting will be reviewed by the Sheriff’s Executive Force Review Committee.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Justice System Integrity Division, is to conduct an analysis to determine if the shooting was legally justified, and if criminal charges will be filed.