Rodriguez Family issues Statement
Wants DA to reconsider decision to not press criminal charges
The family of Luis Rodriguez, a man who died in police custody following his arrest outside the Warren Theater, has issued a statement in response to District Attorney Greg Mashburn decision to not press charges against Moore police.
According to the statement, the family is "deeply grieved" that no criminal charges will be pursued against the officers that were involved in the incident that preceded Rodriguez's death. In the statement the family says their loss is compounded by "this mistake."
"Luis Rodriguez was a beloved husband, father, brother, and friend. But he was also a hard working, taxpaying citizen of Cleveland County, OK, which entitles him and his family to full rights and justice under the law. Despite the attempts by the Moore Police Department and the Cleveland County District Attorney’s office to indicate otherwise, Luis was a kind and gentle soul. He had never gotten into any trouble in his life and those who knew him, loved him. Without a full criminal investigation and trial, the family is left to grieve without justice for their loved one and without closure for themselves," the statement said.
The family said Rodriguez did nothing wrong and committed no crime and that he was assaulted and "murdered" without "any reasonable basis."
In the statement the family said that, "officers injected themselves into a parenting
situation that was completely under control and to which Luis was simply a
bystander. In Oklahoma, there is no obligation to provide your identification to
police. Therefore, the officers’ decision to assault and eventually kill Luis for failing to provide his identification is both alarming and criminal."
The family said that the DA's decision to not charge the involved officers "dishonors the deceased and his family, but also greatly undermines the principles
of safety and welfare for the community he has sworn to protect. In a healthy society, everyone must stand accountable to the laws of the land regardless of profession, notoriety, and access to those in power. No one should be allowed to perpetrate harm, violence, or abuse on another individual irrespective of their affiliation with a governmental entity: thus is the very definition of the freedom from tyranny."
However, the family said that have a heartfelt belief in justice and the law of the land.
The statement said, law enforcement, and the Moore Police Department in particular, is established and typically effective in the protection of citizens within their jurisdictions. In this case, and many other life situations, the conduct of few can not disgrace or denigrate the whole institution."
The statement concluded with asking the DA to reconsider the "overhasty decision" to not continue a criminal investigation. The family also asked to meet with officials and be informed of the information that led the DA to decline to press criminal charges.
The Cleveland County District Attorney's Office announced June 20 that it would not press charges against the police officers involved in Rodriguez's February death.
In a letter to the Moore police chief, Mashburn said the use of force by the officers was justified and appropriate under the law and that there is no nexus between illegal actions on behalf of the police officers and Rodriguez's death.
Rodriguez died while in police custody after a domestic incident at the theater. His family said he was following his wife, who had just gotten into an argument with their daughter. When police arrived, they detained Rodriguez. Rodriguez stopped breathing and later died at a hospital, according to a police report.
The Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death a homicide. The medical examiner found evidence of a physical struggle that led to his death.
In Mashburn’s opinion, video footage from Warren Theater security cameras showed an officer using knee strikes and other active counter-measures to release Rodriguez’s arms so he could be handcuffed.
Mashburn said this is an appropriate law enforcement technique. While the action resulted in Rodriguez becoming bruised, Mashburn maintains it did not contribute to his death.
“I know who my husband was,” said Niar Rodriguez. “He was not an animal. There were five officers against one man.”
The Rodriguez family is criticizing Mashburn for clearing the officers of using excessive force against Rodriguez.
“Today is my tragedy,” Niar Rodriguez said. “I’m speaking out because for one person to die is hard enough. I don’t (want) two people to go through the same thing.”