Things That Matter

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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The Cop Who Killed Daunte Wright Says She Meant To Tase Him Instead Of Firing Her Gun

Things That Matter

The Cop Who Killed Daunte Wright Says She Meant To Tase Him Instead Of Firing Her Gun

Another Black man is dead, killed by the police.

Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man from Minnesota was murdered on Sunday after a police officer pulled him over for a traffic violation. In an attempt to take in Wright after realizing he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, it is being said that the officer meant to use her Taser but accidentally fired her gun.

Police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota are saying that Wright’s attempt to reenter his car prompted the police fire.

Body camera footage of the Sunday incident was released for the first time on Monday during a news conference. Footage of the killing shows Wright outside of his car when authorities were attempting to place him under arrest. At one point, in the footage he can be seen attempting to reenter his vehicle, prompting a struggle with officers.

“I’ll tase ya,” a woman officer told Wright in the video after he attempted to kick her. “Taser, Taser, Taser!” the officer is heard yelling in the video before saying “Oh shit! I just shot him.”

According to Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, the officer meant to reach for her Taser.

Instead, she grabbed her gun.

“This appears to me, from what I viewed and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright,” Gannon claimed.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has identified the officer in the incident as Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the police department. Potter is now on administrative leave.

Speaking about her standing, Gannon said “I think we can watch the video and ascertain whether she will be returning.”

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott publicly supported Potter’s termination.

“My position is that we cannot afford to make mistakes that lead to the loss of life of other people in our profession, so I do fully support releasing the officer of her duties,” he explained before revealing that the officers initiated the traffic stop after clocking an expired registration tag on the car’s vehicle. When they ran Wright’s name they learned that he had a warrant out for his arrest. “That’s why they were moving from the car and they were making custodial arrest.”

Gannon went onto explain that the only information he had about the arrest warrant was that it was attached to a “gross misdemeanor warrant.”

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A 1-Year-Old Was Shot In The Head By Houston Police, Now He’s Fighting For His Life

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A 1-Year-Old Was Shot In The Head By Houston Police, Now He’s Fighting For His Life

Updated March 24, 2021.

The police of Houston are under fire again after it was revealed that a 1-year-old boy was shot in the head by an officer earlier this month. The tragic incident happened on March 3.

At the time Daisha Smalls was at a gas station filling up her car when she saw police cars and sirens.

According to Smalls, she was sitting inside of her car when a man approached her and told her to get out of her car.

At the time of the attempted hijacking, Smalls’ son Legend, was in the backseat.

“I wouldn’t give him my car because I let him know that I have a child in my car and that I would not leave my car without my son,” Smalls explained. The man then pushed his way into the car and attempted to hijack the vehicle.  

Police shot into Smalls’ car and killed the suspect who’d forced his way onto her lap. The police also injured her son Legend.

The 1-year-old was struck in the head with a bullet.

“I was just scared for my son’s life,” Smalls explained in a recent interview. Smalls went onto share that her son “didn’t deserve to be shot, especially not by the police.” According to reports, doctors removed part of Legend’s skull to make space for brain swelling. They were able to remove the bullet but small fragments from the bullet remain.

“He’s had multiple seizures, over 10 seizures, he’s still fighting for his life,” he explained.

Antonio Romanucci, co-counsel to Smalls’ lawyer said they are still investigating the incident but that the Houston police “can anticipate a lawsuit being filed shortly.”

Earlier this month, Houston Police Department Executive Assistant Chief Troy Finner claimed that Smalls was not in the car at the time of the hijacking. The hijacker was 30 and the suspect of two armed robberies. Police told him to drop his weapon and when he refused an officer fired several shots at him. The man died at the scene.

Finner claimed that the police officer was unaware that Legend was in the car. 

“Fearing for the mother’s safety, one of our officers discharged his duty weapon, fatally striking the suspect,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said in a statement shared to Twitter. “Sadly, baby Legend was also struck. Officers at the scene immediately rendered first aid to Legend… We are hoping and praying for the full and speedy recovery of little one-year-old Legend Smalls.”

Small’s attorney, Ben Crump explained that the clerk at the gas station told ABC13 that there is a surveillance video of the shooting.

“Why would they shoot knowing she was in the car? Not knowing who else was in the car. There could have been children, there could’ve been others in the car, but they shot,” Crump explained. “Regrettably and tragically, little Legend will live the rest of his life with the consequences of their decision to shoot into his mama’s car even though they knew she was in there.”

The attorney to Smalls, who has disputed police accounts that she was out of the car when the shooting began, has said that they expect to file a lawsuit in regards to the incident.

“Were the actions of the Houston Police Department both objective and reasonable under the circumstances?”Romanucci commented at a recent news conference according to The New York Times. “Clearly the answer is no.”

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