Police Narratives

Here are a couple of stories from the national press that may make you question what you hear from the police.

The first incident happened in Tampa, Florida, when officer Kevin Fitzpatrick stopped Liz Vargas for a tinted license plate cover.

It was November 5th,7:30 in the morning. Tampa police officer Kevin Fitzpatrick claims when he approached Liz Vargas about an obscured license plate, she immediately became argumentative.

. . .

The next day she asked Tampa police to investigate officer Fitzpatrick. [Vargas’ attorney Brett] Szematowicz asked for video of the incident. Court records show the state and T-P-D said there was none. But a private investigator confirmed the tape existed.

“They lied about it,” Vargas said. The state attorney’s office told 8 On Your Side that it became aware in April, that the video existed.

So then that begs the question, if they knew about it in April, why did Liz Vargas’ attorneys have to file a motion to compel in late June? The state attorney’s office is checking on that.

“When they are intentionally withholding evidence in a criminal prosecution, and you’re withholding that evidence, that doesn’t get much more serious,” Szematowicz said.

The second story concerns the shooting of a homicide suspect in San Jose, California.

[Homicide suspect Richard] Jacquez, 40, was steps from the front door of a house when an officer opened fire, killing him.

Hours after Monday night’s confrontation, department spokesman Sgt. Enrique Garcia told reporters that Jacquez had reached for his waistband.

The official story soon changed.

Now, officials say Jacquez wasn’t armed and didn’t reach for his waistband. The officer shot at him first when his back was turned and again when he spun around. In explaining why the officer opened fire, Garcia said he feared for the safety of those inside the home Jacquez was running toward. Officers also believed he was going to kill the woman riding with him because she knew about the slaying Jacquez was tied to.

How can the police expect us to believe them if we can’t expect them to tell the truth?

Policing is a tough job, but lying’s not supposed to be part of it.

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