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L.A. Weekly: New Court Documents Contend That An Officer Shot A Latino Man In The Back As He Laid On The Ground Unarmed

On Feb. 14, 2016, Eduardo Edwin Rodriguez was on his way home in East Los Angeles with two friends in a van when they were pulled over by the police. Police were suspicious of the van after it was seen leaving a parking lot that was known to be a dumping place for stolen vehicles. According to reporting by Los Angeles Times right after the incident, the police officers say Rodriguez refused to get out of the car when requested. They said he seemed “fidgety” and that made the officers nervous. What ensued, according to the police officers, was a “violent struggle” that escalated after one of the officers saw a gun. After Rodriguez broke from one deputy’s grips, they opened fire, killing him in the middle of the street. That was the story then. Now, it has changed.

A year and a half later, the family is seeking justice in a wrongful death lawsuit. New court documents are placing the focus on one of the deputies and a sergeant, Andrew Alatorre, who were there on the scene, according to LA Weekly. The document, which was compiled from testimony and accounts from seven of the officers that were on the scene, allege that Alatorre fired at Rodriguez 14 times at close range while he was injured, unarmed, and face down on the ground.

“During that struggle several deputies were in close physical proximity to Edwin Rodriguez, were actively trying to control him by grabbing at his arms, and were striking and pummeling him repeatedly, causing him to raise his arms in self-defense to thwart the blows,” the motion reads, according to LA Weekly. It was during this struggle that one of the deputies urged her fellow deputies to shoot to subdue him so they could detain him. Once he fell to the ground, according to LA Weekly, Alatorre walked up to Rodriguez and asked him to show his hands. When Rodriguez did not, he shot Rodriguez in the back 14 times. Deputies claim that his hands were under his body but the family’s attorney disputes the claim, saying that photos from the scene show his hands outstretched over his head.

LA Weekly has also reported that this is not Alatorre’s first time being sued for a shooting incident. Back in 2014, Alatorre was called to a suicide attempt in Maywood, Calif. During the call, Alatorre misidentified an object in Salvador Palencia’s hand as a knife. Alatorre shot and killed Palencia before it was discovered that Palencia was holding a cake spatula, according to LA Weekly.

(H/T: LA Weekly)


READ: ICE Raids Home In Chicago And Ends Up Shooting A Legal Resident

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Horrific Footage Shows Police Officers Shooting Teen In The Back Of The Head And His Partner’s Response Is Shocking

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Horrific Footage Shows Police Officers Shooting Teen In The Back Of The Head And His Partner’s Response Is Shocking

The proliferation of security and surveillance cameras has revealed cases of police malpractice and brutality that usually target Black and Brown minorities. These cases range from people being stopped by police cars and then getting beaten up following a minor discussion, to instances in which police officers fire their weapons with fatal consequences. Since the bashing of Rodney King in 1991, a case of police brutality that was caught on camera and sparked outrage in the Black community, the police has been increasingly scrutinized and instances in which procedure is not followed lead to legal battles. 

Such was the case involving Officer Ray Villalvazo and teenager Isiah Murrietta-Golding, who was fatally shot by the officer during a chase in Fresno, California.

The chase happened after Isiah and his brother were approached by the police while driving a car. They were suspects in the killing of a man who had been shot and then crashed his car into a tree the day before. Isiah’s brother later pleaded guilty to the murder. The footage of Isiah’s death has resurfaced due to a wrongful death lawsuit that is being contested. Yes, Isiah shouldn’t have run away, but, according to the teenager’s father, who acts as the plaintiff, the killing was premeditated and unjustified. Also, there is a justifiable suspicion in these cases when it comes to discrimination towards minorities. 

The incident took place in April 2017, but the heart-wrenching footage has just been released.

The incident took place while police was chasing Murrieta-Golding, an unarmed suspect. The fact that he wasn’t carrying a weapon is key, as the use of blunt force was ultimately unnecessary because the suspect did not represent a clear and imminent threat to the officers. However, an Office of Independent Review investigation concluded that the shooting was justified because the policemen believed that Murrieta-Golding was reaching for a weapon. As the Daily Mail reports, independent reviewer John Gliatta wrote: “‘The reasonableness of force is based on the officer making a split second decision after observing the suspect reaching for his waistband area several times during the foot pursuit”. But the footage questions whether the decision was really made in a split-second. 

Yes, Murrieta-Golding was wanted in connection to a homicide . Yes, as we have said he was a fugitive and the officers were within their rights to capture him, but that does not mean they had to shoot him while he was running away. 

The cop’s partner says “Good shot!” after the gun is fired… as if they were hunting or playing a video game.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the video is the soundtrack, in which you can hear Villalvazo’s partner praising him for the shot. “Good shot!”. That is as wrong as it gets, from any point of view in which you wish to analyze it. It objectifies the suspect turned victim and makes killing seem inconsequential, like not a big deal. We can only imagine the suffering that was inflicted to Murrieta-Golding’s family after hearing these words. This kind of language is totally dehumanizing, and an affront to anyone who has been the victim of police brutality or who has lost a loved one in a similar way. 

This takes police brutality to a whole new level: it reveals systematic cruelty.

Murrieta-Golding was shot on the back of the head after he had jumped a fence. He died three days later in the hospital. The boy’s father watched the video and now he believes that the use of lethal force was not justified.  Legal analyst Tony Capozzi told ABC30: “From the video, the officer just comes up, crouches down, and shoots”. This description is chilling as it describes a calculated, cold action that does not seem to have been a “split-second decision”. 

The plaintiff’s attorney is now pushing to consider the shooting unjustified, and the bodycam footage potentially supports the claim.

As ABC 30 reports, plaintiff’s attorney Stuart Chandler, who represents the boy’s father, said: “Isiah and his brother were considered possible or probable suspects. There was not a warrant for their arrest. There was no conduct by Isiah that day to ever show that he had a gun – because, of course, he didn’t”.

In the bodycam footage we can see the teenager stopping and then jumping the fence surrounding a daycare facility, at which point the officer aims and shoots. Chandler continued: “The law says there has to be an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury, which clearly there wasn’t. This young man was trying to run away. And you can be as critical as you want about how you shouldn’t do that, but it doesn’t give police the right to use lethal force”. The trial is set for October 2020. And Chandler is gearing up for the case, having recently told CNN: “The fact that the police department and the city of Fresno’s police auditor all agreed that this shooting was justified is troubling in light of the video that clearly shows that it’s not”.

Police Fatally Shot Rueben Galindo and Now The Mother Of His Children Is Demanding Answers

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Police Fatally Shot Rueben Galindo and Now The Mother Of His Children Is Demanding Answers

Azucena Zamorano attended a community meeting last night in Charlotte, North Carolina, hosted by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, hoping to get answers about why the father of her five children, 29-year-old Rueben Galindo was shot and killed by police last month. Zamorano sat in front of Police Chief Kerr Putney and asked him straight out: “I don’t understand why he was shot.” All he said in response was “Yes, ma’am, I understand” and “I am sorry for your loss.”

CREDIT: Héctor Vaca

The tragic shooting, which is currently under investigation, took place on Sept. 6, and the events that unfolded prior to the fatal shooting are very confusing. According to several news outlets, Zamorano says that Galindo (her common-law partner) called 911 to tell them he was surrendering his gun. Jaqueline Guerra, a friend of the family, told the Charlotte Observer that Galindo wanted to give the police his gun because he had an upcoming court appearance and didn’t want to be deported because of it. According to Zamorano’s attorney Brian Hochman, Galindo had been in the United States 14 or 15 years.

In the 911 call, Galindo tells the 911 operator that he needs to speak with someone who speaks Spanish. It takes about a minute for the transfer to take place, and even then the call gets even more confusing because Galindo is on the phone with the operator and the translator.

In the initial 911 call, which lasted 14-minutes and has been released, Galindo sounds a bit disoriented but even more confused because of the three-way conversation between himself, the operator and the translator. He tells them he needs help but isn’t specific about what kind of help he needs. He keeps saying, “Will the police help me or not?” He also tells them that his gun does not have bullets and requests the presence of Officer Hernandez on the scene. There are also a couple of instances in which the things Galindo says are not relayed to the operator in detail.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has released the 911 calls along with the body-cam videos. WARNING: Below is footage of the fatal shot.

CMPDVidcast / YouTube

Héctor Vaca of Action NC, an organization that helps the low-income community in Charlotte, tells mitú that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released the footage in a calculated way so people would conclude that Galindo was brandishing a gun.

Acompáñenos en una reunion con Chief Kerr Putney y policias de CMPD. El 10/12/17 a las 6:30 PM para una conversacion…

Posted by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department on Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Vaca says they did this by releasing a screenshot first, in which they circled the gun. Then they linked out to the video.

The actual video shows Galindo with both hands raised.

CREDIT: YouTube/CMPDvidcast

Galindo appears outside for less than 10 seconds before he is shot. The video clearly has the police yelling “manos, manos” to Galindo, and he indeed shows his hands. When he raises them, the police shoot.

According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, “Officers gave multiple commands to Mr. Galindo to drop the weapon. Mr. Galindo refused to drop the gun and the officers perceived an imminent deadly threat. The officers subsequently fired their weapons striking Mr. Galindo and immediately requested Medic.”

The only verbal command that can be heard on the video is “manos.”

Is this is a case of words being lost in translation? Attorney Brian Hochman, Zamorano’s representative, tells mitú that whatever was going on with Galindo before the police arrived on the scene is a distraction because what matters is what you see in the video.

“There’s no question that the command they gave him is ‘manos,'” Hochman says. “The next command they give is ‘drop the gun’ in English.”

Hochman wonders if Galindo understood the word “drop” because he says that’s not a word you use every day. Hochman says Galindo specifically requested a Spanish speaking officer during the 911 call, and at the “most critical moment is when they spoke to him in English.”

“When you focus on the actual videotape, there’s nothing that any reasonable person [watching the video] can say that can be construed as threatening,” Hochman says. “He is standing there with the hands in the air.”

Alma Hernandez of Action NC told the Charlotte Observer that the meeting did not answer their questions. According to Hernandez, police spent too much time “hotdogging” throughout the meeting and ended before everyone’s questions were answered.

READ: OKC Police Officer Fatally Shot Magdiel Sanchez Despite Witnesses Yelling That He Was Deaf

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