Law and Order: Chucotown

arbitration cover letter
El Paso Times Editor Bob Moore alerted us, via Facebook, to the arbitrator’s ruling on the decision to reinstate Officer Jose Flores, the El Paso Police Department Officer who shot handcuffed prisoner Daniel Saenz in the sally port of the El Paso County Jail. The ruling was posted on the website by the El Paso Times.

The post provides unusual insight into the workings of government and the decision-making process of the hearing judge. It also shines a light on the ineptitude of our local officials.

The ruling is 70 pages long, much of it procedural boilerplate, and some of it reveals the hearing judge, Mark R. Sherman, LLM, PhD, is, like many lawyers, a frustrated novelist. I’ll let you read that part yourself.

But here are some takeaways:

The El Paso Municipal Police Officers Association doesn’t think that shooting a mentally disturbed handcuffed prisoner is something that a cop should be fired for. Remember that the next time their contract comes up.

If the District Attorney’s office had been able to secure even deferred adjudication on a Class B misdemeanor for Officer Flores, the Police Department wouldn’t have been able to re-hire him.

When Officer Flores showed up at the Police Department to give his statement, the detective on duty didn’t call the Texas Rangers to take it, but instead just accepted it with a minimum of questioning. That meant the the Rangers had to take a second statement a week later, after Officer Flores had an opportunity to polish the rough edges.

Officer Flores thinks that pulling his pistol and putting his finger on the trigger was perfectly justifiable according to the Police Department policies. He doesn’t regret any of that.

And Ricardo J. Navarro, of Denton Navarro Rocha Bernal Hyde & Zech, P.C., apparently works as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of El Paso when he’s litigating.

The whole thing is a snooze-inducing indictment of the El Paso version of Law and Order, and I invite you to read it yourself.

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