Why race of course. The race of the perpetrator. In this case a Mexican cop was allowed to shoot an unarmed handcuffed Mexican and get away with it. In this case a cop shot a suspect who was handcuffed and in the back of a squad car. The suspect was still fighting, but instead of a blast from a Taser, he got a .40 caliber round, and died. Sound familiar? Yes, the Oscar Grant shooting in O-town! (h/t The Truth About Guns)
Saturday, May 03, 2003
By Glenna Jarvis - The Madera Tribune
Assistant district attorney for Madera County, Eric Wyatt, speaks during a press conference Friday regarding the officer involved shooting of Everardo Torres last October.
Marcie Noriega, the Madera police officer who says she mistook her service weapon for her Taser and accidentally shot and killed Everardo Torres, 24, of Madera, will not face charges for the shooting.
Madera police officers responded to a disturbance call at an apartment complex in the 2100 block of North Schnoor Avenue the night of Oct. 27, 2002. Shortly after, they requested assistance from sheriff's deputies.
Nine officers, including two deputies, were attempting to break up a party that had gotten out of hand when the incident occurred, according to earlier reports. Three individuals were taken into custody, including Madera Torres.
Torres was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police vehicle and, according to reports, attempted to kick out the vehicle windows. In an attempt to subdue Torres, Noriega intended to use her Taser, but drew her 40-caliber Glock instead and fired a single shot into Torres' chest, killing him.
"In a 1,100-page report, District Attorney Ernest LiCalsi told Madera Police Chief Kime ... (the DA's office) would not be filing charges against Marcie Noriega," Assistant District Attorney Eric Wyatt read from a prepared statement during a press conference Friday afternoon.
Wyatt explained that without the intent of criminal negligence, criminal charges against Noriega could not be sustained.
"The required aggravation ... did not occur in this case," he said.
"This decision was not reached quickly or without a tremendous amount of reflection," Wyatt said, adding that LiCalsi "strives to make decisions that - under the law - are just."
"It is the opinion of the Madera County District Attorney's office - under the law of California - not to file charges," he said.
Wyatt said the decision was based on all the evidence and statements of the witnesses at the scene.
"The man seated in the car next to Torres said he knew it was an accident when it happened," Wyatt said. "There is not a single piece of evidence showing intent on the part of Marcie Noriega."
He added that the decision was not made without many questions and "many sleepless nights" as he and LiCalsi conducted the investigation, and while he understands the moral issues involved - the fact that a life was taken - they could only seek justice as established by law.
"Despite what I may feel, it is our job to follow the law," Wyatt said.
Wyatt said that the fact Noriega is a sworn peace officer did not factor into the decision.
"There is nothing in the law that makes the standard any different," he said.
Earlier in the day, Wyatt sent two investigators to the Torres house to deliver a letter informing the family of the decision, he said, but he had no idea if they were successful in making that delivery.
The complete report has been forwarded to both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Attorney General's office for review, Wyatt said.
"We've made everything available to them," he said. "We were committed to turning everything over to them so it could be double checked."
The night of the shooting, Torres had a blood alcohol level of 0.15 and his blood contained tetrahydrocannabinol, the active chemical in marijuana, according to the autopsy report.
Madera Police Department guidelines states the M26 Taser is a "control device to be used to control violent or potentially violent suspects" and "should be worn when officers are responding to calls for service that may ... necessitate the use of the Taser."
The M26 Taser can either be used in direct contact with the subject, or by firing projectiles which embed in the subject's flesh. The projectiles can be removed by the officer unless lodged in a highly sensitive area, according to the guidelines.
Steve Tuttle, director of Government and Law Enforcement Affairs for Taser International, explained that the taser causes central nervous system override in which all conscious thoughts are overridden by subconscious thoughts in order to protect oneself from further perceived damage.
Attorney Arturo Gonzalez filed a $10 million lawsuit in federal court against the City of Madera on Nov. 4 citing negligence, excessive force and violation of Torres' civil rights.
In February, the Torres family changed attorneys, and hired Johnnie Cochran, the attorney who represented O.J. Simpson during the trial for the murder of his wife, Nicole Simpson.
Bruce Praet, the attorney representing the city, said he and Gonzalez had established a good working relationship, and he feared that the family rejected Gonzalez because his "target wasn't what they wanted."
Prate said he believed that the monetary value Gonzalez attached to the case has been exceeded by the Cochran firm, and the family had been given "unrealistic expectations" by the firm as to what the case is worth.
But in the case of Officer Johannes Mehserle, who accidentally fired his pistol instead of his Taser, and unlike Officer Marcie Noriega, Mehserle is white, Noriega is Hispanic. Same case, similar facts, similar rationalization for the shooting, similar outcome for the suspect, but completely different legal responses. No cries from the race grievance industry, no claims of conspiracies by racist cops, and no criminal charges for what was clearly an accident.
The only difference is that whites are treated differently than non-whites and not to their benefit.