February 19, 2014
Wife says MPD is responsible for husband's deathMOORE — Nair Rodriguez said her husband, Luis Rodriguez, was killed by members of the Moore Police Department.
According to the Norman resident, her husband didn’t try to fight the police or give them reason to attack him, but they brutally beat him to death Friday at the Warren Theatre in Moore.
Nair said video from her cell phone and video from the Warren Theatre, once released, will prove her accusations.
“It will prove my husband was murdered at the scene by five police,” Nair said. “I’m desperately screaming for the government to stop hiring criminals and give them license to kill anyone. We are human beings.
“This has to stop one way or another. Being violated. And we have to speak out. If my husband died in a very vicious way, this cannot be in vain. We’re going to fight. Then I can go to my corner and cry all day long for the husband of 22 years they took away from me.”
Moore Police Chief Jerry Stillings hosted a press conference Tuesday afternoon explaining where the investigation stood and that he was giving his full support behind his officers.
“I know these officers and I know their hearts,” Stillings said. “I don’t feel they would approach any situation with ill intentions. It is my intention and my duty to thoroughly investigate this incident. Collect all evidence, conduct all interviews and turn over a full and thorough investigation to the Cleveland County District Attorney’s office.”
During his 30-minute press conference at the Moore Community Center, Stillings detailed what led the MPD to stop Luis on Friday at the theater and why he felt it took three members of the police department and two off-duty Oklahoma game warden officers to restrain Luis.
Rodriguez was at the theater when an argument broke out between Nair and his daughter, Lunahi Rodriguez.
According to Stillings, the two on-duty MPD officers were already at the theater on an unrelated call. They were advised by patrons of a physical fight by other customers.
“Mr. Rodriguez made statements that led officers to believe that the fight was a case of domestic violence,” Stillings said. “Domestic violence is a serious situation. Officers are obligated to investigate all matters of domestic violence.
“The altercation between the members of the Rodriguez family, which was recorded by the eyewitness, made this situation a criminal matter. Officers tried to explain the criminal nature and situation to Mr. Rodriguez and he was uncooperative.”
At that point, according to Stillings, Luis tried to leave and took an “aggressive stance.”
“When the officers attempted to detain Mr. Rodriguez, at which time Mr. Rodriguez tossed the officer off his arm, the additional officers assisted in an attempt to detain him. Mr. Rodriguez was continuing to be uncooperative. At some point during the attempt to detain, pepper spray was used by an officer,” Stillings said.
Stillings said the officers didn’t use batons or weapons at any point during the altercation. After gaining control of Luis, the officers used two sets of handcuffs linked together because of his large size, Stillings said.
The officers called for the EMS, who were already on scene due to a previous incident. Stillings said the response was in moments and Luis was taken to the hospital less than a block away, which is where he died.
“As far as the altercation, an independent witness has stated that they observed the incident and never observed a beating occur,” Stillings said, “but did see officers attempting to grab Mr. Rodriguez’s limbs to get control of him. It was described as officers trying to get an out-of-control person under control.”
Stillings said the investigation is still ongoing and that the three MPD members are on administrative leave. To his knowledge, none of the officers have ever been accused of using excessive force.
After the conclusion of the press conference, Nair arrived at MPD to pick up her cell phone, which officers at the scene of Friday’s incident had taken from her.
“They took the video without permission,” Nair said, “without a search warrant. I understand they have to have a search warrant to obtain it. But they were looking and illegally took it from my daughter’s hands. I’m sure of what I saw. I’m sure of what I record.”
According to Stillings, the phone was taken to preserve the evidence and the chain of custody. After obtaining a search warrant, the video was copied by the MPD.
After retrieving her phone, Nair was escorted away and didn’t speak to the media again. Melissa Lujan, the attorney representing the family, said they wouldn’t show the video of the alleged beating at this time.
Nair said she hasn’t had time to completely process everything that has gone on. Now she just wants justice to be served.
“(My message) isn’t just to (the) Moore Police Department,” Nair said. “Unfortunately, this is one of many cases going on across the nation. They do not have the license to kill. They have the license to protect.
“They swear under God to protect our community. We are more afraid and scared of the police than we are of the criminals because at least with the criminals, we have a chance to prove they were after us. But with the police, they have the authority and the power.
“They are the Goliath of the system,” Nair continued. “We are still the David. But David, at the end, defeated him with one stone. Lies will come, but the truth will prevail.”
More Video here: http://www.normantranscript.com/headlines/x1196445040/Moore-police-chief-responds-to-man-s-death-at-Warren-Theatre