The term "policy failure" is far, far less severe than the "neglect of duty" Nix was hoping for. Basically, the OCC ruled that the police acted within city policy and were justified in their actions, but those policies should probably be changed.
That's not good enough for Nix. We've documented this case fairly completely -- see long, printed stories here and here and thorough Internet articles here, here and here -- but this is a brief rundown of a none-too-funny comedy of errors:
On the very night de la Plaza died, Nix is uncertain if blood samples were ever taken off of the stoop of his apartment building -- where French authorities believe he received his mortal wounds (which would explain why he was locked inside his apartment; perhaps he stumbled into his building and closed the door behind him to fend off more attacks). De la Plaza's family was not informed of his death for several days and key witnesses were not called for weeks, even though some left more than a dozen messages for investigators. As late as September of last year, a high-ranking source within the police department told SF Weekly he was "certain" the suicide theory would pan out.
After eight full months, the San Francisco Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death was "undetermined," leaving room for the suicide theory. French authorities -- who were subsequently granted the right to cart off material evidence by a federal judge -- found otherwise. Of course, by then, the case was two years old; if there are any leads or any progress whatsoever it's news to de la Plaza's friends and family. They claim that the case status of "open investigation" allows the police to not comment on the matter at all -- making it impossible to determine if an investgation is even taking place.
"This was a farce of an investigation," says Nix. "Who can expect any accountability from this city? It's pretty evident that no one can -- unless you hire a lawyer."
And that may be the next step.