Feathered Bastard

Richard Chrisman, Killer Phoenix Cop, Canned

Phoenix Police Officer Richard Chrisman, who faces a second-degree murder charge in the October 5 shooting death of South Phoenix resident Daniel Rodriguez, was terminated today by the City of Phoenix.

Phoenix Police Department spokesman Sergeant Tommy Thompson issued the following statement to the press via e-mail:

"In answer to questions from the media, a Loudermill Hearing was held today for Officer Richard Chrisman. The decision was made to terminate Officer Chrisman's employment. The separation process is anticipated to conclude by early next week."

Public Safety Manager Jack Harris was looking to fire Chrisman back in early November, but Chrisman's civil attorney Kathryn Baillie, who works for the firm that represents the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, sought and received a preliminary injunction from Superior Court Judge Donald Daughton, putting plans to kick Chrisman to the curb on hold.

But on February 28, Daughton issued a minute entry, allowing Baillie to file a special action with the Arizona Court of Appeals to seek a further stay. Daughton stated that unless the Court of Appeals ruled otherwise, his preliminary injunction order would be lifted.

The Court of Appeals denied Baillie's motion for a stay on March 18, opening the way for the City to conduct a Loudermill hearing, which is the hearing of last resort before a public employee is axed.

Obviously, it didn't go too well for Chrisman.

PLEA has vigorously defended the dues-paying Chrisman, bailing him out of jail, assisting him with legal representation, and doing its best to undermine the account of the shooting offered by non-PLEA member Officer Sergio Virgillo.

Helping members with legal representation is one of PLEA's duties, of course. Sliming a fellow cop? PLEA does that for pure joy, apparently.

Both Virgillo and Chrisman responded to a 911 domestic violence call from Rodriguez's mother on October 5. Rodriguez was unarmed, though a toxicology report later showed he had meth in his system.

During the incident, Chrisman killed Rodriguez's dog and struggled with Rodriguez, eventually gunning the man down. Virgillo told investigators that neither Rodriguez nor the canine posed a threat to either officer.

Chrisman refused to speak to investigators and quickly lawyered up, with the assistance of PLEA. In addition to the second degree murder charge, he's facing a charge for aggravated assault and cruelty to animals.

Last week, Rodriguez's mother Elvira Fernandez filed a $30 million notice of claim against the City of Phoenix for the wrongful death of her son.

One wonders how much money, pain and agony could have been avoided if the City had fired Chrisman after he admitted to planting a crack pipe on a mentally ill homeless woman in 2005, an outrage that was captured by a security camera.

This grotesque, and likely criminal shenanigan landed Chrisman on the Brady List, the County Attorney's roll call of cops whose bad behavior must be disclosed to defense counsel.

Chrisman should have had his Loudermill hearing then. This is regardless of whether he is innocent or guilty of second degree murder in the 2010 Rodriguez killing.

You can anticipate the spin from PLEA and its sleazy president Mark Spencer. In fact, you may see it tonight on CBS 5/KPHO, otherwise known as "PLEA TV."

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons