OCDA Clears Santa Ana Officers in 2022 Case of 73-Year-Old Man’s Death Following K-9 Bite [Santa Ana, CA]

Santa Ana, CA (12th April 2024): (THE PRESS ENTERPRISE)-The recent announcement by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) regarding the exoneration of Santa Ana police officers in the tragic death of Miguel Chavez has sparked widespread debate and scrutiny.

The OCDA’s ruling on the case dubbed “OCDA Clears Santa Ana Officers in 2022 Death Case,” has stirred both legal and ethical discussions surrounding law enforcement practices and accountability.

Chavez, a 73-year-old man, passed away in September 2022, succumbing to injuries sustained during an encounter with law enforcement.

The incident unfolded when officers attempted to detain Chavez, who had been involved in a pursuit along the streets of Santa Ana.

The Streets of Santa Ana
The Streets of Santa Ana


Reports indicate that Chavez, who was initially pursued after a car crash, resisted arrest and refused to exit the vehicle he was driving. In response, officers resorted to firing less-lethal rounds and deploying a police K-9 dog.

Body camera footage capturing the moment of the canine’s release paints a distressing picture of the events. 

Chavez can be heard expressing pain and confusion as the dog bites him. Subsequently, he was transported to a hospital, where he received medical treatment for his injuries, including surgery for dog bites.

Tragically, Chavez’s health deteriorated rapidly, and he passed away approximately two days after being admitted to the hospital. The coroner’s report attributed his death to cardiovascular disease complicated by injuries sustained from the dog bites.

While the coroner classified the death as a homicide, the OCDA’s investigation concluded that the officer’s actions were consistent with departmental policies and did not constitute criminal wrongdoing.

Ethically and legally, this case raises several critical questions;

  • Was the level of force used by the officers justified given the circumstances?
  • Did Chavez pose an immediate threat to the officers or others?
  • Could alternative de-escalation tactics have been employed to resolve the situation peacefully?


Furthermore, the role of pre-existing medical conditions in Chavez’s death adds another layer of complexity. While the coroner’s report cited cardiovascular disease as a contributing factor, it remains unclear how significantly the dog bites exacerbated his condition.

Were the officers aware of Chavez’s health issues before the encounter, and if so, did they take appropriate steps to mitigate the risk to his well-being?

From a legal standpoint, the OCDA’s decision to clear the officers of wrongdoing highlights the challenges of holding law enforcement accountable in cases involving the use of force. 

Despite the tragic outcome, prosecutors determined that the officer’s actions were within the bounds of reasonable force and did not meet the criteria for criminal charges.

However, this does not absolve the need for transparency, accountability, and ongoing scrutiny of law enforcement practices. 

The public outcry and demand for justice underscore the importance of thorough and impartial investigations into incidents of police misconduct.

While the OCDA’s decision may provide closure for the officers involved, it raises broader questions about police accountability, use of force policies, and the protection of individual rights. 

As we reflect on this case, it is imperative to prioritize the pursuit of justice and uphold the principles of fairness and accountability in our criminal justice system.

If you have suffered a dog bite incident, don’t navigate the legal complexities alone. Seek the expertise of an experienced Santa Ana dog bite lawyer to understand your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.

This includes filing a personal injury case in Santa Ana against the dog’s owner for negligence and/or other issues that were associated with the situation. In California, dog owners are strictly liable for bites inflicted by their pets, regardless of prior knowledge of aggression.

At the Crockett Law Group, we specialize in personal injury cases, including dog bite claims. Our team has a proven track record of securing compensation for victims in Santa Ana through negotiation and, if necessary, litigation. 

You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Remember, Justice Delayed is Justice Denied. Don’t delay seeking legal assistance. Protect your rights and ensure justice is served. 

Our law firm extends our deepest sympathies to the friends and family of the victim who are mourning the loss of their loved one.

It’s important to have experienced wrongful death lawyers on your side when losing a loved one in a pedestrian accident. Call us at 1-888-965-3827 for a free and confidential case evaluation. You can reach us 24 hours a day and 7 days a week by phone, text, and online chat.

Note: Our law office relies on external sources for the content of this post. Although we aim for accuracy, we have not independently verified all facts related to this incident. Should you identify any inaccuracies, please notify Text Kevin Accident Attorneys for corrections. Posts will be removed upon request.

Disclaimer: The content of this post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute a solicitation for business. The information contained herein is not intended to offer legal or medical advice. If you or someone you care about has been injured in an accident, it is recommended to seek immediate medical assistance. The photo featured in this post was not taken at the actual scene of the accident.



The Map of Santa Ana, CA where the incident occurred

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett is an award-winning personal injury lawyer who understands the impact an accident can have on someone’s life. That’s why he aggressively fights for each of his clients.

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