Skip to comments.30-day penalty sought for cop: Denver chief makes recommendation in killing of invalid
Posted on 03/23/2005 3:21:02 PM PST by billorites
Police Chief Gerry Whitman recommended that Ranjan Ford Jr. receive a 30-day suspension for shooting and killing an unarmed invalid last summer.
That Monday recommendation is 10 days more than the suspension Whitman recommended for officer James Turney, who fatally shot Paul Childs, a developmentally disabled teen, in July 2003.
"I think a 30-day suspension is an arbitrary and capricious number," said Mike Mosco, president of the Denver Police Protective Association "We stand behind Ranjan and we are going to ensure that his due process rights are protected and enforced."
The mother of Lobato's three children, Christina Gomez, said Wednesday she couldn't believe Whitman's suggested discipline.
"This is absurd, unbelievable," said Gomez, reached at her home in Sacramento, Calif. "(Ford) should be fired - off the force completely."
If it were someone other than a law enforcement officer who fired the fatal shot, he would be in jail and not given a slap on the wrist, she said.
"Because (Ford) is a police officer doesn't give them the right to excuse him," she said. "There should be criminal charges against him."
Whitman remained tight-lipped Wednesday about his recommendation to Manager of Safety Al LaCabe, who makes the final decision on police discipline, but three police sources verified that it was 30 days.
News of the recommendation quickly spread throughout the police department. A fax sent out from District Six asked officers to donate to a fund established to help with Ford's expenses if the recommended suspension goes through.
LaCabe has 15 days from the day he received the recommendation in which to make the final decision in the case and write a report.
Lobato, 63, was shot July 11 in a west Denver home as he lay in bed watching television, after Ford apparently mistook a soda can in the man's hand for a weapon.
Ford had climbed into the home through a second-floor window to search for Lobato's nephew in connection with a domestic violence call. Police were unaware that the nephew had fled the home.
Two police supervisors who were at the home when the decision was made to go through the window were given oral reprimands for their role in the incident.
In December, a grand jury decided not to indict Ford in the shooting, and then-District Attorney Bill Ritter declined to file charges.
In January, the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to Ritter's office challenging the fact that the case file would remain closed because a grand jury had reviewed it.
On March 4, the district attorney's office responded, saying the case file would be available to the public following LaCabe's decision.
Mark Silverstein, legal director of ACLU of Colorado, raised concerns that the decision to wait until after the internal affairs investigation is concluded was a shift in policy.
But Deputy District Attorney Chuck Lepley said Wednesday that the Lobato case was being handled differently because of many unique aspects. "This is not a change in policy," he said. "We want the public to know everything they can about a (police-involved shooting) case."
The district attorney's office is in the process of reviewing the case file to see which portions can be opened to public review, Lepley said.
He said the intention is to have the case file ready for review when LaCabe makes his decision.
Ford, a Denver police officer since 2001, is back on the job, but not on patrol duty. He has declined to discuss the case with reporters.
The shooting could lead to federal action. Lobato family attorney Kenneth Padilla said Lobato's relatives may file a federal civil rights lawsuit. The Department of Justice also is weighing whether to intervene.
Lobato's death has been especially difficult on Gomez's three children, Frank Jr., 28, Anthony, 26, and Barbara, 25, whose feeling range from anger to sadness, she said.
Lobato's sister, Esperanza "Hope" Gonzales, of Thornton, was also surprised by the news, saying it's not enough punishment.
Correspondent Marilyn Robinson contributed to this report.
How the heck are we supposed to know which unarmed invalids are in season and which aren't?
I thought it was okay to kill invalids. Maybe they should give him a promotion.
Where the Heck did you think you were, Chief? Florida?!
Ford had climbed into the home through a second-floor window to search for Lobato's nephew in connection with a domestic violence call."
I am loath to beat up on cops, but...
This is an egregious example of abuse and an example of 'circling the wagons' by law enforcement.
No, can't kill.
Gotta "let him die."
Well, it is. But they have to do it slowly and painfully, by starving them to death.
But only after you critically injure them first....
I understand drinking soda is bad for your health but...
Step away from the Sprite and put your hands on your head.
Which is why some people, myself among them, have lost all respect for law enforcement.
"He hates these cans."
This is an outrage...how much longer are we, the American citizenry going to tolerate this type of BS? It's clearly time to outlaw soda now!!
Most people, and professions, when confronted or in crisis 'circle the wagons.'
Police, unlike schoolteachers or nurses, come heavily armed and primed for confrontation.
That's why we support the second amendment.
So that the police fear us.
Yeah. I could understand if it was Tab or something deadly, but Sprite can only cause minor injuries in most cases.
This is true MURDER. And what happens - NOT A THING. I will rethink my support for the police. They are no above the law. And should be held accountable - Unless the judge ordered the bedridden person to die of THRIST.
If criminals ever get their hands on cases of Diet Fanta, it will be curtains for all of us.
"I thought it was okay to kill invalids. Maybe they should give him a promotion."
Only in Florida.