Crime - Sacto 911

Woodland police look into gang threat against officers in Taser death

The Woodland Police Department is withholding the names of officers involved in the Feb. 8 death of a man who was shot with a stun gun while officers said he was brandishing a golf club.

A department spokesman cited an investigation into a possible threat made by Norteño gang members against the officers as the reason for not disclosing their names.

Police Department spokesman Lt. Anthony Cucchi said the threat was made following the Feb. 8 death of Michael Barrera, 30, who was subdued with a Taser by a Woodland officers.

Cucchi said the threat was communicated to investigators by an informant and forwarded to the Yolo County Gang Task Force to determine its credibility.

“Is it just chatter coming through, or is it real?” Cucchi said. “That’s what we are trying to determine at this time.”

He said he could not go into the details of the threat.

The names of officers involved are generally subject to public disclosure laws. The Sacramento Bee filed a Public Records Act request with Woodland police in February asking for the names.

Police video and audio of the killing was also withheld.

Police said Barrera was exposing himself to people at a Woodland apartment complex, holding what witnesses told police dispatchers was a pair of scissors and a chef’s knife. A short time later, police said, Barrera charged at officers with a golf club and injured one.

Officers noticed Barrera was not breathing after he was struck with a stun gun and handcuffed, and they began CPR, Woodland police said. A toxicology report showed Barrera was under the influence of methamphetamine, according to the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office.

The department had earlier said it would likely have results from the gang task force investigation by March 1.

Nashelly Chavez: 916-321-1188, @nashellytweets

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