Ventura Police Reviewing Policies Following Stabbing at Steakhouse

The police chief of Ventura said his department is reviewing its policies after a 911 call about a yelling and disruptive man who later allegedly stabbed a father in a steakhouse was cancelled.

“We shouldn’t have canceled the call. We still should have put boots on the ground,” Police Chief Ken Corney said. 

A call came in about a disruptive man near the Crown Plaza Hotel about 6:32 p.m. on April 18th, but, with no available units near him, authorities decided to use a surveillance feed to monitor the person. He was identified as Jamal Jackson, 49, a known homeless person to the cops. After watching Jackson on the feed for about 20 minutes, authorities deemed that he was not a threat, and the call was cancelled. 

A few hours later, Jackson would allegedly walk into the Aloha Steakhouse restaurant and stab Anthony Mele Jr., 35, of Ventura in the neck. Mele would later die at a hospital the next day. 

People were outraged at the city's lack of action, and have called for more to be done in addressing homelessness in the city. 

Corney says the city is reviewing its decision making procedures and why the call was cancelled. The city released the surveillance video because the chief said it was "the right thing to do." 

But according to the Ventura County Star, the 911 call depicted a very different scenario. 

In an audio recording of the 911 call played for The Star, a female caller tells a dispatcher a man is yelling at girls and women and “scaring the crap” out of them. The caller states that the man is not saying anything but is hollering and yelling. 

Mele's family set up a GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses. 

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