10 July 2004

I wish I could tell him the person who killed his mother was in jail, but . . .

Officer Dan Lovelace is acquitted. Even though three eyewitnesses testify that he chased after Dawn Rae Nelson's fleeing vehicle to shoot her and the jury foreman stated that he believed the shot "traveled from the rear to front".
"I see him run with the car. The car takes off and he runs with the car. He takes out his gun and from the side I see him shoot," Brandi Gonzales testified.

Her sister Jennifer Gonzales-Maytorena agreed.

"He was running, going really, really fast," she said, explaining that the officer was trying to catch up with the car.

Both celebration and outrage over the verdict.

I am disinclined to second guess jury decisions, especially when I haven't sat in the courtroom and heard all the testimony and pored over evidence presentations, but the case here sure looks like a "O.J. Simpson" type deal. Perhaps some of the other jurors will speak out on the rationale behind their judgment.

Basically, the word of a police officer who possesses a checkered past trumps multiple eyewitnesses and forensic testimony.

Lt. Thomas Blaine, the city's pursuit expert, concluded that Lovelace didn't declare a pursuit, didn't broadcast the fact that he was going 100 mph, didn't use his lights and siren as required and didn't follow a supervisor's order. That order: "Don't push it; let's get you some help."

Despite that, an internal investigation exonerated Lovelace. His only mistake, the report said, was that he didn't run his siren. For that, he got the minimum punishment, a letter of admonishment.