BREAKING: Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) Officer Erik Bailey, who fatally shot 32-year-old Sean Arlt, will not be charged, said Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeff Rosell in a press conference. Bailey was sworn into the SCPD in May 2015.
Rosell said the officer was legally justified in using lethal force because Arlt was using a rake as a weapon, holding it over his head, advancing toward Bailey in an aggressive manner and was “fixated” on him.
“There was no exchange between the officers and [the suspect]. Sean approached them at a very fast pace wielding a large rake, a bow-headed rake and when the officers gave commands, an excess of eight,” said SCPD Deputy Chief Rick Martinez in October.“There was no response and [Arlt] was totally uncommunicative.”
No criminal charges will be filed against any officers, and SCPD will continue to investigate the incident, said SCPD Chief Kevin Vogel.
Arlt had a history of mental illness, and the officers who responded were aware of his history of mental illness. When the officers arrived, they found Arlt near the backyard holding the rake. According to the coroner toxicology tests, Arlt had alcohol, nicotine, marijuana and a prescription antidepressant drug in his system. His blood alcohol level was 0.047 — around two drinks for a man of his height and weight.
“We are increasing the number of hours [we are] working with the mental health department, we will also be reviewing our policy of body worn cameras,” Vogel said. “We will continue to engage our community regarding police actions.”
Arlt enjoyed writing, music, poetry, screenwriting and surfing, according to a statement from his family.
“Sean was loved by his family and many friends and will be greatly missed by those of us who knew him, including his 4-year-old son who he loved more than anyone,” Arlt’s family said in a public statement.