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Police Report Multiple Victims in Izumizaki Investigation; Explain How the Arrest Came About

The Albany Police Department released the following statement Thursday to answer some questions that have arisen in the past week following the arrest of Albany Middle School teacher James Izumizaki.

[Editor's Note: The Albany Police Department released the following statement Thursday, at about 3:30 p.m. via the department's Facebook page, to answer some questions that have arisen in the past week following the arrest of Albany Middle School teacher James Izumizaki. The statement also was posted on the city website at 3:15 p.m. It appears below in full, unedited, followed by related stories on Albany Patch. It is attached to this post as a PDF. The police chief confirmed to Albany Patch by phone earlier Thursday that the department received reports related to multiple alleged victims in this matter.]

Statement from Albany Police Chief Mike McQuiston concerning Albany Middle School teacher James Izumizaki 

October 4, 2012 

James Izumizaki’s arrest and subsequent suicide understandably upset many in our small community. It’s clear that people are hurt and confused by this tragic turn of events; the arrest of a popular educator and community member raises troubling questions, and his suicide leaves many questions unanswered. 

Because I believe in transparent and responsive policing, I would like to share what process was followed in arriving at the decision to arrest Mr. Izumizaki, and the laws from which that authority is derived. 

After receiving mandatory notice from the school district that allegations of impropriety had been made concerning Mr. Izumizaki’s relationship with a minor, the Albany Police began an investigation into that relationship. Following victim and witness interviews, police collected additional evidence that confirmed information from those interviews. A veteran police detective presented the evidence to a Superior Court judge in the form of a Declaration of Probable Cause. 

California Penal Code §817 describes this process: “…if, and only if, satisfied from the declaration that there exists probable cause that the offense described in the declaration has been committed and that the defendant described therein has committed the offense, shall issue a warrant of probable cause for the arrest of the defendant.” This step provided judicial scrutiny of the evidence. This independent, third-party review by a magistrate uninvolved with the investigation is a safeguard against police abuse of the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. 

Once the judge issued the Warrant of Probable Cause for Arrest, officers were given the authority to make an arrest and search his home and vehicles. We are then required to file a document with the court clerk stating the date and time the warrant was served, the name of the person arrested, the location of the arrest and where the person is being held in jail. We are required to file a similar return with the court on the search warrants describing what we found and what we seized. Because Mr. Izumizaki died prior to being charged with a crime, there will be no public trial or court proceedings. 

Mr. Izumizaki was arrested without incident at his home when he answered our knock at his door on the morning of Sept. 26. The speed with which this arrest was made is a compliment to the lead investigator and is typical of cases where we want to act quickly to limit the destruction or concealment of evidence, and/or the compromise or concealment of witnesses. 

Part of our mission as police officers involves bringing perpetrators of crime to justice. Another part involves protecting the public and providing services and care for crime victims. Our investigation continues today and it will continue until all known leads are exhausted. 

We do this to ensure that no unknown victims remain who would likely need critical care or emotional support services. The reported victims in this matter are minors. The nature of the crimes under investigation and the manner in which this chain of events has unfolded (and continues to unfold) will manifest lifelong impacts on the victims. 

We will also continue to investigate to ensure that any digital record created during the commission of a crime with a juvenile does not live on into perpetuity (as 21st century technology now seems to allow). 

Lastly, if we should discover any information during our investigation that might help our school district colleagues better protect their students, we will share that information with them. 

In addition to the angst this matter has created in our community, investigations of this nature can be challenging and complex for the police to navigate. I am proud of the members of the Albany Police Department, particularly our investigative staff, who continue to diligently work this investigation on behalf of the victims. 

I am also grateful for, and would like to publicly thank, those victims and witnesses who have shown great courage and character by coming forward. 

As always, the police department remains committed to its mission of protecting and serving the community. Working together, we can ensure Albany will remain a safe place to live, work and play. 

RELATED ON ALBANY PATCH

  • Thursday: Interfaith Service of Healing and Comfort
  • What Patch Considered in Covering the Izumizaki Tragedy
  • Blog: Albany’s Children Are Hurting—Helping Your Teen Work Through This Life Changing Event
  • Blog: A Community Tragedy
  • School District Focuses on Helping Students Cope Following Teacher's Death
  • Video: District Holds Press Event After Teacher Death
  • California Launches Suicide Prevention Website
  • Arraignment Postponed for Teacher After 'Lewd Act' Arrest
  • Blog: Coping as a Community with Allegations of Sexual Offending
  • AMS Event: Having Difficult Conversations with Children
  • Parent Meeting Planned After Teacher Placed on Leave Following Alleged 'Lewd Acts'

Click the "Keep me posted" button below for updates about this story. 

Beverly Frye October 05, 2012 at 05:16 PM
In the 2011 case, the judge determined that there wasn't enough evidence to proceed to trial. As it was explained to me at the time, the standard of evidence at the preliminary hearing is actually lower than the standard of evidence required to arrest someone. I'm not a lawyer so take that statement for what it is - second-hand. But in ruling that that case should not go to trial, the judge did not just say that there wasn't enough evidence (which, by the way, directly points to the poor investigative work by APD), but that the accuser's own allegations were so weak and suspect as to cause the judge to say he didn't know if she was making it up or if she really believed something had happened. And yet, in that case, APD made a humiliatingly public arrest after a failed and very limited attempt to gather information or corroboration. I don't fault the press or the accusers in this case in the least, but from what I've seen, APD does not know what they're doing, at least in cases like this, and that worries me for all concerned.
cq October 05, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Guess what. The judge underestimated bail amount which determines flight risk and public safety. No justice in an already no win situation.
Monica October 05, 2012 at 06:30 PM
I just watched that video. Just really seems like there's a lot more to this than what is being reported or shared by APD. Perhaps intertwined with the murky world of youth culture and adult advocates making some bad decisions. I'll say this about young adults who actively chose to be connected to youth culture and spaces - they were the ones that saved me from myself on several occasions as a teenager. I am not suggesting that is the roll that Mr. I played, I am just presenting the different layers that may exist and did for me when I was a youngster. I was part of a youth program where most of the adults had no idea what the youth were getting into after hours and where there was some pretty abusive things going on. The one or two young adult staff who related to us a bit more, who looked the other way but saw all of us rather than what we shared during the day, they were the ones who were there to keep us from destroying ourselves. Anyway that video just reminded me of those one or two adults, they would've been fired if they had been seen at our parties. Another thought I am struck by: I find it odd that given plenty of examples of botched police work some of the readers are comfortable taking this small bit of communication at face value. If there's so much for the APD to stand on, why not share what evidence they have? Is it this video? If so could their use of the term 'victims' be subjective? Don't feel like I know more today then I did yesterday...
Monica October 05, 2012 at 06:45 PM
All I'm saying is the picture isn't a whole one. I'll never be a fan of getting told what to think and prefer the whole picture. For example if APD reports the arrest took place w/out incident but neighbors say it was disruptive and dramatic - well that points to inaccuracies in how something is being presented and makes it difficult to take what little that has been shared at face value.
Laura Riggs October 05, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Thank you for posting this link. I am trying to digest what I just saw. Do we know if any of the actors depicted are minors?
Amy October 05, 2012 at 07:26 PM
California Criminal Jury Instructions. Lewd or Lascivious Act: Child Under 14 Years: http://www.justia.com/criminal/docs/calcrim/1000/1110.html Lewd or Lascivious Act: By Force or Fear (Child Under 14 Years): http://www.justia.com/criminal/docs/calcrim/1000/1111.html The only difference is the use of the term "by force or fear" in section two of the second link and the definition of that term. They are otherwise identical.
Avi Jacobson October 05, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Laura, I am as shocked as you are at this video. However, remember that it is a piece of performance art. Even if there are minors in the clip, I don't think (as a reasonably informed layman) their participation implies a crime. They would be minors participating in a work of performance art that involves obscenity, in the presence of a teacher, just as if they were performing The Vagina Monologues in their high school theater. (I don't know whether that's been done in Albany, but it certainly has in Berkeley.) The alcohol and cigarettes in the video could be fake, as it is in any stage production. What concerns me specifically about the video is the extent to which it demonstrates Mr. Ikumizaki's lack of boundaries in his dealings with students, and his lack of judgment as an educator in participating in a production with such a counter-educational message.
Avi Jacobson October 05, 2012 at 09:05 PM
I see no contradiction between the police's statement ("without incident") and the neighbors' ("disruptive and dramatic"). An emergency surgical procedure can be very disruptive and very dramatic, but there would be no contradiction if a doctor reported that an emergency liver transplant had proceeded "without incident" and that the patient was in stable condition.
tr October 05, 2012 at 09:45 PM
i agree w/u avi. what will silence the people who are blaming everyone accept 4 the criminal.
cobra October 05, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Could it be time to dial it down? The involved students in our community need protection and compassion. I have followed most if not all of the posts and I see much support for the children. Those of us who knew James as a man of a thousand good deeds want those kids to be safe, protected, and healed. Someone who has meant a great deal to many students and families in Albany has fallen. Our friendship, appreciation and loyalty to James are natural and normal. Those who are villifying those of us speaking up for our friend might honestly consider what your reaction would be if a friend or trusted co-worker was suddenly under this type of allegation. All of the posts were read by James prior to his final decision. His memorial display at AMS was taken down on the demands of the anti-Izumizaki faction. A memorial event for him cannot be held in Memorial Park tomorrow due to opposition from those who do not think enough flesh has been extracted. To those who are incredulous that people continue to step up for our friend, think about the compassion we all want for the children, and decide if, and when, some healing can really begin.
Laura Riggs October 05, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Avi; I am not jumping to any conclusions about this video. I don't know what is in the cups (water?), who is in the video (are they all adults?), where it was shot (purportedly Mr. I's house, but I do not know that), who was present during the shooting (Mr. I is in one scene), etc. I will say this, it portrays Mr. I in a very bad light in view of the circumstances, to be connected with it. Although I was disturbed by the graphic themes in this piece of "art", I was more shocked by the creator's dedication to Mr. I in the comments below the video. That seems bizarre to me. As I said, I am digesting this new information. I have also viewed some very touching memorials to Mr. Izumizaki on Youtube. A beautiful original song, a scroll of touching Facebook messages and photos, one student's rambling thoughts on his loss provocatively juxtapositioned with visuals of kill shots while gaming. These artistic efforts tell us a great deal about what is going on for them. I am struggling to simultaneously hold the children's grief and loss of their teacher/coach and to hold my own knowledge and experiences as a victim of sexual assault when I was younger (although not a minor, barely legal). These are not easy to reconcile. At this point, more than one thing may be true.
Steve White October 06, 2012 at 02:53 AM
The wording of this statement is awful fishy to me. Although he does use the word victims repeatedly, the chief does not tell us what they were victims of, does not tell us what evidence of any was found at the house, does not give a clue why he is worried about some kind of permanent record of a crime involving a minor. He goes broadly into the safeguard of having a judge approve the search warrant, but of course without any specifics we don't know if the judge was given false or misleading information by APD to obtain the warrant. Also, he makes a big deal of saying the judge is given a report of what was found, but of course if that was nothing, and the judge sees a political hot potato now that the accused committted suicide, and no evidence was found, then the issuing judge himself will want to cover it up because he will look bad, (or she of course) The fact a Judge issued a warrant is MORE, not LESS reason for the public to be given details, IF the judge screwed up, or was misled, it's more important than if just one APD investigator was too gung ho. The one thing that seems certain is the Chief is a liar, When he says he favors openness, but won't release records, what other conclusion can you reach?
Steve White October 06, 2012 at 06:58 AM
Are you serious? These different accounts do not jibe. I don't know what's true, but for sure they don't add up.
Anonymous October 06, 2012 at 02:26 PM
"Those who are villifying those of us speaking up for our friend might honestly consider what your reaction would be if a friend or trusted co-worker was suddenly under this type of allegation." You have to believe the children. Saying this is the reason that so many suffer in silence. Please honestly consider what your reaction would be if your daughter or son or sister or brother or niece or nephew was the victim.
Rob October 07, 2012 at 08:03 PM
There should be total support for the victim here, and a wait and see attitude regarding the teacher. It's tragic through and through.
Steve White October 08, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Rob -- It's not really logical to have total support for the victim and wait and see for the alleged criminal. I mean, if you don't have enough information to form an opinion, you don't have enough information to give "total support" for anyone. I did not know this man and tend to lean towards thinking he did something wrong, but "total support" is premature without the cops releasing more information.
Concerned and Caring Citizen October 08, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Ms.Marquez-shaw, I can not stand by and be a silenced citizen. I have to comment on your response. You either have an agenda or are easily misled. If you were there when he was arrested then you are a straight out lier. The police didnt barge through the door and he was not thrown to the ground. I know this because I was across the street. Quite frankly unless you were his roomate, an "evil officer" that you are trying to portray the police of being, or standing in his driveway there was no way you could have heard what was said because I couldnt.
Concerned and Caring Citizen October 08, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Get it together Emma M and stop making this about you!
Avi Jacobson October 08, 2012 at 07:31 AM
Yes, Steve, completely serious. Imagine a squad car approaches a house on a quiet residential street, siren blaring (per procedure), parks in the driveway, officers emerge with weapons drawn (per procedure), ring the bell and politely arrest a family member. The family member complies and does not resist, and is taken away, quiet but handcuffed, in front of the frightened children and confused family. The police will correctly describe arrest as having proceeded "without incident" (there was no resistance, no need for force or backup, etc.). The family will correctly describe it as intrusive (one minute they were quietly eating dinner, and the next minute two strange police officers were inside their home) and dramatic (siren, cuffs, perhaps crying and bewildered children, talk of "lewd acts upon a minor under the age of fourteen" spoken in front of family members). Both accounts are correct from their respective perspectives, and there is no contradiction between them. Why is this hard to understand?
Avi Jacobson October 08, 2012 at 07:41 AM
Steve, if a child (who has no professional standing, no established position in the community, no position of power in his relationship with the adult, no possible sanction that he can personally exercise on the adult) claims to have been molested by an adult, I will give the child my TOTAL support until such time as his allegations are PROVEN to be ENTIRELY baseless. The cards are stacked so heavily against the alleged victim, and as a child he is so in need of our protection and support, that we have no other choice. In the same way that a criminal suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty, a child alleging abuse is presumed credible until proven otherwise. Judging by other posts you have made in this thread, you may think this is a contradiction: "How can you say the alleged perpetrator is presumed innocent at the same time that the child is presumed credible?" The answer is: That is the purpose of our legal process. THROUGHOUT the process, we have a child whom we choose to believe until our process is concluded, and an accused person whom we choose to consider innocent until our process is concluded. At the CONCLUSION of the process, it is likely that either the suspect will be found guilty or that the child's account will be discredited.
Steve White October 08, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Avi - the helpless child is still alive, Izumizaki is dead, so this idea of "the cards are stacked so heavily against the alleged victim", "no possible sanction that he can personally exercise on the adult" is a huge distortion of reality. I don't want to be rude but seriously do you analyze and really think about your statements before you make them? I don't think the "no personal sanctions" part is true, a minor can sue, I mean no normal minor would do so, I think you've got to get a guardian ad litem appointed, but the fact is, a child CAN get the police to act, that is what happened in this case, and though the APD won't tell us anything of substance it appears a search warrant was issued on the word of one or two kids at most. When you are saying the kids are helpless and everyone is against them, you are just mindlessly repeating things you've heard from sexual abuse lobbying groups, that is far out of date at the least. I don't want to be too rude but I am really offended, and have a right to be, by people who don't think and refuse to see what is right in front of them.
Avi Jacobson October 09, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Steve, let me respectfully respond, and request that you do the same. (Calling my me or my opinion "mindless," for example, is not respectful, and I don't quite understand this device of "I don't want to be rude" followed by a deliberately offensive question.) With Izumizaki dead, the child has even LESS means of redress than she or he did when he was alive. The accused's friends, family, teacher's union, colleagues, and a whole community of adulators are still there to posthumously defend and support his reputation. The child has no such support network and now, no way of demanding due process of a dead man. No one is holding support rallies or vigils for the victim or posting personal endorsements of their credulity, because we don't know who she or he is. Do you know the statistics on how many abuse victims do not actually come forward or do so only many years after the fact? On how many are actually believed? Without knowing me, you accuse me of "mindlessly repeating," never considering that my position may reflect first-hand experience with childhood abuse. I wonder whether you are being as hasty in your judgment of a child who claims to have been victimized.
Steve White October 10, 2012 at 12:09 AM
I honestly don't think you keep track of your own comments enough for me to discuss them. Basically, you went into this helpless child mantra without thinking about what has actually happened in this case, which was investigation and arrest. Let me put it to you, how was the child ignored or revictimized? The reality is the opposite. It doesn't matter what happened to you or anyone else years ago, the bottom line is, action was taken, your commnent is not relevant to what has happened here. And I have no idea if the kid is lying or not, so I am not accusing her of it. There seems to be indirect indication the DA was not totally enthusiasitc about taking the case, but who knows why. What we do know is a lot of people in Albany prefer to trust the police rather than demand full explanations. It's bad citizenship in my opinion.
tr October 10, 2012 at 01:05 AM
steve, u should chill for a while. the facts will come out.
Avi Jacobson October 10, 2012 at 04:52 AM
What you are calling my "helpless child mantra" was in response to your statement that the child does not deserve total support. In answer to your question "How was the child ignored or revictimized?" Where did I say either of those things? Finally, as for your statement that "it doesn't matter what happened" to any abuse victim in the past, I need not comment. Your statement speaks for itself.
Steve White October 10, 2012 at 01:43 PM
This sounds like quibbling. The sexual abuse lobby is very powerful now, and generally puts no limits on itself. So, false accusers are highly rewarded, and even when caught are typically not punished. For example that DA who was accused of rape by another DA in Contra Costa County. Perhaps it would be hard to prove the accuser lied, but paying her $450,000 for an allegation which was never credible? This is the reality. I've been falsely accused by a woman of abuse, not sexual abuse, but she told the cops "I'm afraid he's going to rape me" wher her husband was in the house with their pitbull, a celll phone, in an urban area where the cops will arrive in 5 minutes, AND A PISTOL TO SHOOT ME WITH IF THAT WAS NOT ENOUGH. Despite the fact the lies were obvious, this liar got rewarded by the system and got a restraining order to keep me out of my own house. So, things are pretty much the opposite of what you assume, and you can't see what is right in front of you, stuck in your own past. Let it go.
Steve White October 10, 2012 at 01:43 PM
This sounds like quibbling. The sexual abuse lobby is very powerful now, and generally puts no limits on itself. So, false accusers are highly rewarded, and even when caught are typically not punished. For example that DA who was accused of rape by another DA in Contra Costa County. Perhaps it would be hard to prove the accuser lied, but paying her $450,000 for an allegation which was never credible? This is the reality. I've been falsely accused by a woman of abuse, not sexual abuse, but she told the cops "I'm afraid he's going to rape me" wher her husband was in the house with their pitbull, a celll phone, in an urban area where the cops will arrive in 5 minutes, AND A PISTOL TO SHOOT ME WITH IF THAT WAS NOT ENOUGH. Despite the fact the lies were obvious, this liar got rewarded by the system and got a restraining order to keep me out of my own house. So, things are pretty much the opposite of what you assume, and you can't see what is right in front of you, stuck in your own past. Let it go.
Albany Parent October 16, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Steve, Your personal experience aside, several minors are victims in this small community. Your comments are not helpful to those harmed by the predator who artfully gained the trust of so many in Albany.
Albany Citizen November 15, 2012 at 07:40 AM
How do we know that the victims were actually harmed? We don't.
Robert Marshall November 15, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Being that they're underage, they WERE STATUTORILY harmed. They could have even been consensual in the relationship. However, that doesn't wipe out the fact that there are laws involved to protect minors. Unless you're professing a need for the underage victims to be paraded in public view, you're just going to have to believe what the police/D.A. are saying.

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