In Pursuit of Justice: Attorney General Bonta Files Felony Charges Against the Ex-LAPD Officer Who Shot and Killed Kenneth French and Critically Wounded His Parents

August 16, 2021

by Teresa Anderson, Director, Public Policy

First and foremost, I want the French family to know that we continue to hold them in our hearts and admire them greatly for their strength and persistence in pursuing justice for their son and family. In June 2019 Kenneth, a young man with disabilities, and his parents were shopping at Costco in Corona, California (Riverside County) when Kenneth was shot and killed by, then off-duty LAPD officer, Salvador Sanchez. Russell and Paola French, Kenneth’s parents, were also shot and critically wounded during the shooting. This senseless tragedy was made even worse when Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin announced that no charges would be brought against the off-duty officer based on a grand jury’s failure to indict. Hestrin issued a statement saying, in part, that “charges against the officer were not warranted.”  The disability community was outraged by such blatant disregard for the life of a young man with disabilities and complete lack of accountability for the officer who killed him. Kenneth was an unarmed young man with a disability who was shot in the back, and his parents were shot while trying to protect him…charges were more than warranted, they were expected.

Failure to hold this officer accountable sent shock waves through the community, moving advocates, families, loved ones, to organize protests, meet with elected officials, and demand a meeting with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office to find out how the system could have failed this family and the community. Thank you to EVERYONE who wrote letters, signed onto letters, met with elected officials, went to the protest sites (Riverside County and the LAPD), and otherwise expressed your outrage at such a failure of justice. It is because of the strength and persistence of the French family, their loved ones, and the power of advocacy within the disability community that this shooting became so “high profile” that it led the Attorney General to step in and demand justice and accountability.

Historically, officer-involved shootings that result in the death of an unarmed person were investigated by local law enforcement and the District Attorneys. However, Assembly Bill 1506, which became effective July 1, 2021, created a mandate for an independent, statewide prosecutor to investigate and review officer-involved shootings of unarmed civilians, including assessing for potential criminal liability. The intent behind the law is to help build and maintain trust between law enforcement and the community. This is critically important to the disability community because research shows that between 30%-50% of officer-involved shootings involve a person with a disability.  The Attorney General’s (AG) decision to charge Mr. Sanchez came about after an independent review of proceedings at the local level and the belief that a crime was in fact committed. The AG’s statement can be read here:

We know building trust between the law enforcement community and the disability community will take time and be an on-going process, but we believe the AG stepping in to ensure accountability and justice for the French family is a step in the right direction.


1. The Rally:

Join us in Sacramento on April 3, 2019, for the #KeepThePromise Capitol rally to save Lanterman Act services & fund the direct support workforce for Californian’s with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

More than 330,000 Californians with I/DD live in our state – they are our neighbors, classmates, coworkers, family, and friends – however, their support structure has been grossly underfunded and is failing. Direct support staff are quitting the field or working multiple jobs due to low wages, essential programs are closing throughout the state, and individuals are forced to live with inadequate supports or with no support at all.

California’s lawmakers must fund the services and supports people with I/DD rely on to access their civil rights. An 8% increase will provide emergency stabilization which our community desperately needs.

For the full schedule of rally events, visit or download our shareable flyer.

2. Engage Your Legislators:

3. Share:

Visit’s social media tool kit and share any of our premade social media posts to let your network know that California’s lawmakers must #KeepThePromise to the I/DD community.

4. Stay Involved – #KeepThePromise on Twitter:

Twitter is a social media tool which allows us to communicate directly with each other and our lawmakers.

  • If you aren’t already on Twitter visit our social media toolkit to learn how to sign up, and how to use your account for online advocacy
  • Follow The Lanterman Coalition’s Twitter account
  • when you tweet about the budget remember to use #KeepThePromise so that other budget advocates can find you and share your tweet

A FUTURE IN PERIL Why California is at A Crossroads in 2019 for Supports for People with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

More than 350,000 Californians with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities live in California as our neighbors, classmates, coworkers, family, and friends; …

More than 350,000 Californians with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities live in California as our neighbors, classmates, coworkers, family, and friends; however, their support structure has been grossly underfunded and is failing. A state required Rate Study, due in March, 2019, may propose solutions that should be implemented; regardless,
immediate investment is needed this year.
This year alone, more than 15,000 new individuals with I/DD are expected to require services under the state’s famed Lanterman Act. At the same time, direct support staff are quitting the field or working multiple jobs due to poverty level wages; essential programs are closing throughout the state; and individuals are forced to live with inadequate supports or not supports at all.

Graphic upper

Instead, the state should invest to create job training opportunities, community integration programs, parent support, and a livable wage for the approximately 150,000 direct support professionals whose job is supporting Californians with I/DD.

Let us be clear—our system is in crisis and is falling apart rapidly, and there is a direct impact on people with I/DD, their families, and the workforce, which is predominantly non-white women.
“Our son, David, has autism and significant difficulties with language and needs 24-hour staff support. In the last 27 months David has had 10 different support staff. For obvious reasons, this is not an ideal situation, and recruiting for David can be challenging due to the difficulties of communicating with him. Given the low wage rate with little opportunity for advancement, finding a higher paying job is always a prime motivation for staff to move on. There is always uncertainty about when the situation will resolve, and uncertainty is difficult for David and the rest of our family. The reassurance that would come with improvements for our direct support staff and knowing that the system is stable is priceless.

– Betsy Katz, Mom and President of The Arc of California

Additionally, the federal government has set a deadline of 2022 for implementation of new guidelines that will call for more community integration of this population, further creation of job opportunities, and require more complex support from the people and programs that support people with I/DD. Not one element of this future will be cheaper than what we pay today.

This adds up to a crossroads this year: invest now or leave hundreds of thousands of Californians behind and risk losing hundreds of millions of federal dollars!

THEREFORE: We urge Governor Newsom and the Legislature to include an eight percent, across-the-board rate increase to our system as a down-payment toward the implementation of the rate study, to somewhat stabilize the system, and, if nothing else, to simply account for the rising cost of providing services over the last two years alone.

“I receive a pay check twice a month. I work 120 hours plus each pay period and I bring home only $1500 at the most, usually less than that after taxes. I can’t even afford my own place. I even started driving for lyft to make ends meet. I love my job I enjoy going to work every day but it’s not enough to survive.”
– Direct Support Professional, Solano County

Jordan Lindsey

Jordan Lindsey

Executive Director

The Arc of California