In a hearing held yesterday for the Phoenix police officer accused of killing an unarmed suspect last month, two officers who responded to the shooting scene minutes after it happened painted a different picture of the incident than that of the officer who actually saw the shooting go down.
The hearing was to determine whether Officer Richard Chrisman, who not only shot 29-year-old Danny Rodriguez but his dog, too, should be allowed to keep his job while he fights a second-degree murder charge.
When Chrisman was indicted, Phoenix police Chief Jack Harris said he would skip an internal investigation that would determine whether Chrisman would keep his job. Harris said he would meet with Chrisman directly to give him a chance to plead his case as to why he shouldn't be canned.
However, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge has issued a temporary restraining order, preventing a meeting between the department and Chrisman, which means the department can't fire Chrisman until the judge can re-evaluate the case.
During the hearing, KPHO reports, Officer Eric Rude and Sergeant Sean Mattson -- the two
officers who responded to the scene minutes after the shooting -- testified that they were told Rodriguez was being aggressive, which was the reason Chrisman shot him.
Even in the booking slip the officer who witnessed the shooting describes how Rodriguez was somewhat aggressive, but those critical of the incident believe he wasn't aggressive enough to warrant deadly force -- keep in mind, the guy had no weapon.
Mattson, however, testified, "I was surprised to read the Form IV," suggesting it was different from what he was told happened. Rude claimed to have his own doubts.
"I asked him about why there was things contained in the Form IV that I felt were inappropriate and had nothing to do with probable cause," Rude testified at the hearing. "He told me that the county attorney reviewed the Form IV and dictated to investigators at the scene how they wanted the probable cause statement written in the Form IV."
The two say they were never asked to testify before the grand jury that indicted Chrisman and first spoke with the county attorney about the case last week.
Frankly, we're not sure why this guy still has a job to fight for -- Chrisman should have been given the boot when he planted a crack pipe on a mentally ill homeless woman. He was only suspended for one day following that incident even though it wascaptured on video, which you can see here.
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