There are police-cruiser videotapes of police officer James Arnold shooting and killing Jose B. Lemus-Rodriguez. Those tapes have been seen by Fort Wayne Police, Indiana State Police, Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards and now Robert H. Black, a consultant hired by the city. And everybody says the evidence, including those tapes, supports Arnold's contention that the shooting was justified. But the tapes aren't being released:
Citing the fear of losing a potentially costly civil lawsuit, the city and the Fort Wayne Police Department refused to release evidence they say vindicates rookie police officer James Arnold in the killing of Jose B. Lemus-Rodriguez.
They did, however, release a letter Thursday from consultant Robert H. Black, who concluded the fatal shooting was justified because Arnold legitimately feared Rodriguez might run him or fellow officers over.
Why would letting the public see the tapes increase the risk of the city losing a civil lawsuit, especially if they exonerate Arnold? Could a lawyer out there explain that to me? If the city is sued, jury members will get to see the tapes and make their own judgment, right? What's the difference if otthers have seen them ahead of that?
It would be nice to say, well, everybody who's looked at this says Arnold was justified, so let's just move on. But if there's something to look at that would help me know for sure, I want to see it. Until then, I'm going to suspend judgment.
And, yes, I agree with what some of you are thinking -- Rodriguez shouldn't even have been here in the first place. He was an illegal immigrant who had violated probation on charges related to drunken driving, driving without a license and driving with false registration. All that attention paid to him by the criminal justice system, and still he wasn't kicked out of the country. What a sick joke our immigration system has become.