If you were confused by contradictory reports about the death of Carlos Ivan Rodas, the Guido’s Malibu employee whose body was discovered outside the restaurant Sunday night, you’re not alone: The City of Malibu and its mayor, Laura Rosenthal, issued a statement today acknowledging a lack of clear communication about the case. (Authorities from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department corrected themselves twice; first saying Rodas has been beaten but not shot, and then today announcing it appears “no criminal conduct” was to blame for his death. This despite the fact that the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office has yet to issue a ruling on Rodas’ cause of death.)
“The City is disappointed by the confusing and contradictory messages given to the media and public about this tragedy,” reads the statement, which was first published by Malibu Patch. “The City’s goal is to get the most accurate and up to date information before disseminating it to the community. Public safety and public health are the City’s most important issues and the City is working hard to get the correct facts regarding this incident to allay any fears that may have arisen. The Sheriff’s Department and County Coroner are working diligently to determine the exact cause of death. The City will continue to collaborate closely with the Sheriff’s Department on communication to the public until the final medical report is issued that will separate the facts from fiction in this very confusing, yet tragic, case.”
The City’s frustration echoes the sentiment expressed by the family of Mitrice Richardson, the Cal State Fullerton graduate who disappeared after being released from the Lost Hills sheriff’s station in the middle of the night without her car or cell phone in 2009. Her remains were discovered in remote Dark Canyon one year later, and her family has accused the LASD of withholding information about the case.
It seems the agencies’ communications skills still have room for improvement.